Lives That Were Ruined By The Internet

The Internet can be a great thing. You can connect with friends overseas; you can download music and movies in seconds; you can even look at any kind of naked people you want to—just as long as you have the Internet bandwidth to handle it all. But for a select group of people, like the ones you're about to read about, the Internet can also destroy your life and career. From painful tweets to evil CEOs, check out these cringe-worth cases that give new meaning to Internet shaming.

Walter Palmer

Bloomington, MN, dentist Walter Palmer came under fire in July 2015 after it was revealed that he had killed and beheaded Cecil, a popular lion among tourists and locals, during a hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Almost immediately after his name was revealed, Palmer was forced to temporary shut down his practice amid tons of public shaming on social media and groups protesting at his office and home. Palmer ultimately returned to work a few months later, avoiding criminal charges for the incident. Still, his name is forever immortalized on the Internet's wall of shame, as seen on his practice's Yelp page, which continues to be spammed with one-star reviews.

Justine Sacco

Perhaps the most famous person to have their life ruined by the Internet is Justine Sacco, who offended millions of people when she tweeted "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm white!" while boarding a flight to Cape Town in 2013. By the time she landed, Sacco's life was pretty much over. The tweet garnered so much negative attention that Sacco's horrible statement became a nationwide news story overnight. In fact, things got so bad, Sacco—who was ironically a PR executive—was canned from her job. "Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet," she said in a statement two days after her infamous tweet. You can still salvage things, Justine. Just Kidding.

Anthony Weiner

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's political career fell apart after he accidentally tweeted a photo of his erect manhood, concealed by his boxers, to his public feed in 2011. The tweet, which he initially claimed was the result of an account hack, ultimately led to the discovery that Weiner had been engaging in sexting and cyber relationships with multiple women over an extended period of time. Weiner quickly became the laughing stock of Washington and eventually, after a drawn-out and embarrassing process, resigned from Congress. Ironically, a second sexting scandal emerged during Weiner's unsuccessful bid for Mayor of New York in 2013. You should've used Snapchat for your wiener, Weiner.

Mike Bacsik

Mike Basick—you know, the pitcher who gave up Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run— ruined his reputation for good when he tweeted a racist comment in response to the Dallas Mavericks losing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2010. "Congrats to all the dirty mexicans in San Antonio," Bacsik wrote. Bacsik's comment understandably offended thousands of social media users and quickly got him fired from The Ticket, a Dallas radio program for which he served as a producer. Bacsik quickly apologized for his racist tweet and blamed it all on being drunk. By then, of course, it was way too late. Congrats, Mike.

Lindsey Stone

Massachusetts resident Lindsey Stone found herself at the center of a massive Internet shame campaign in 2012 after she posted a photo of herself on Facebook in which she is giving the middle finger next to the "Silence and Respect" sign located in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. The photo of Stone, who was ironically on a work trip, caused so much controversy that her office was forced to fire her after it. Of course, she wasn't fired until her office received an overwhelming amount of hate letters and angry phone calls. According to a piece by Uproxx, Stone, who at the time worked for a non-profit organization, now works with children diagnosed with Autism.

Martin Shkreli

Sometimes, Internet shaming can lead to just results. Case in point: Martin Shkreli, founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who infamously raised the price of the drug Daraprim, used by many to treat AIDS, from $13.50 to $750 in 2015. That's over 5,000 percent markup for those doing the math at home. Naturally, the Internet threw a fit and hurled one deserved insult after the next. That still didn't stop him from being a d-bag. Asked if he regretted the price hike, Shkreli told one person, "I probably would have raised the price higher." Fortunately, the FBI arrested Shkreli in December 2015 on charges of securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy relating to three alleged conspiracies. He's currently on the way to court, and we're hoping his punishment gets marked up in return for being so greedy.

Paula Deen's Social Media Manager

What do you do when you're trying to recover from a career-ending scandal in which you were accused of saying racial slurs? Don't remind anyone about said scandal. Paula Deen's unidentified social media manager had to learn that the hard way when when he or she (their name was never released) tweeted a photo of her son, Bobby, in brownface dressed up as I Love Lucy's Ricky Ricardo. The photo, which also featured Paula as Ricky's wife, Lucy, featured the caption, "Lucyyyyyyy! You got a lot of esplainin' to do!", as well as the hashtag #transformationtuesday, which only made the entire tweet all the more cringeworthy. Deen's team ultimately fired the social media manager, though that did little to erase the pile of you-know-what the tweet added to Deen's already large pile of you-know-what. It also didn't stop her from doing a facepalm-worthy run on Dancing with the Stars.

Adria Richards

Techie Adria Richards attempted to publicly shame two men seated behind her at a tech conference and accusing them of saying the word "dongle," better known as a device you stick into a computer, but in a sexually explicit manner. The tweet and subsequent blog post initially worked; one of the two men featured in Richards' photo was fired by their company. Then, it totally backfired. Richards was ultimately fired by her tech company, SendGrid, who expressed concerns with the way she publicly shamed the two men in her tweet. In fact, they felt her comments on the subject actually threatened their company. In the end, pretty much everyone lost in the situation—except the one dongle dude in the photo who got to keep his job.