Regular people have more ways than ever to contact and interact with celebrities thanks to social media, but that is a double-edged sword.
Nobody ever said that all celebs were nice, or are willing to ignore mean-spirited comments aimed at them. And as part of the nature of the beast, that inevitably means that their hordes of followers are going to want to get in on the action.
Kari Rhyan’s exchange with Chrissy Teigen, wife of fellow Trump-hater and singer John Legend – is a perfect example of what happens when the powerful clap-back at less-than-admiring comments.
Rhyan is a disabled veteran who decided to get drunk and a little stoned on August 13, 2019. This led her to tweet a passive-aggressive message to Teigen, who was discussing “Bring the Funny,” a comedy competition much like “America’s Got Talent.”
You are waaaaaay overrated.
— Kari Rhyan (@RhyanKari) August 14, 2019
While most people would ignore such a tweet (especially a celebrity who likely receives messages like this all the time,) Teigen decided to re-tweet Rhyan and add a snarky message of her own.
you aren’t rated at all soooooo https://t.co/CvbJfj2W7Z
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 14, 2019
That was all it took for many of her 12.1 million Twitter followers to go on the attack, mocking everything about Rhyan from her gender to her disabled status. One person even suggested that she should have died from her injuries.
Disabled veteran? Maybe they should have finished the job
— kazzandra bolaños (@jjbajoestar) August 14, 2019
Ahahahhaa I thought the same thing ?
— Dani (@kdeewat) August 14, 2019
Ahhhh . Another hater. He ? cannot compete with your quick wit. Just don’t let it sap your energy & good karma.❤️
— Mama Bear (@MamaBea90634351) August 14, 2019
In an interview with New York Post, Rhyan admitted that she should never have sent that tweet.
“I’ve underestimated Twitter; I’ve underestimated its power,” she explained. “If I put my aggression out there, I’m going to get it back. While I thrive on the aggressive interactions, it hurts my feelings, too.”
She has come to regret the interaction after taking some time to reflect on her actions and instigation.
“I’m afraid that I hurt [Teigen’s] feelings,” Rhyan said, noting that her Wikipedia search of Teigen revealed the star suffered from post-partum depression. “She got me right where I got her; we attacked each other’s insecurity. But she didn’t know me, and I didn’t even know her. We didn’t know each other but we did this.”
It’s a good thing that the disabled vet was able to take this in stride because such a deluge of negativity aimed at someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could have had a much more tragic end.
“Well, it certainly would have if I wasn’t on four different types of psych meds,” she laughed. “If I was unmedicated and having to deal with this now, I would be absolutely devastated and manic and vengeful.”
The NY Post added that Chrissy Teigen’s representatives did not respond to their comment requests.
Social media has the tendency to get out of hand as the result of a lack of negative consequences to aggression as well as a positive psychological reaction to having your hateful, mean, rude, and jerkish comments “liked” by complete strangers.
Dr. Tracy Alloway studies mental health and social media and noted the “dopamine hit” that people get from having their opinions validated drives a lot of the behavior we see on Twitter.
“If you say something mean, and right away someone says, ‘Hey, that was great. Well done’ … you’re going to keep exhibiting that behavior in order to seek out that reward. And … a lot of times, we may not even know the people that we’re responding to. We don’t have that sense of social cohesion that would ordinarily be the gatekeeper against these unkind comments.”
Perhaps this is worth keeping in mind next time one is inclined to throw out a random, mean comment for no reason. Especially one aimed a Chrissy Teigen.
Me back when I was what everyone wanted me to be. pic.twitter.com/esx3KT8gjQ
— Kari Rhyan (@RhyanKari) December 20, 2019
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