The Machiavellian question of being feared or loved is one that seems to marvel forthcoming entrepreneurs as they attempt to make their climb into a prominent fixture of social dialogue. Unlike many household social media names, Nik Richie is one you would not want to hear at your kitchen table.
Richie, aka Hooman Karamian, is the infamous creator of gossip site thedirty.com, a site that is for entertainment and states, “If I read something and it sounds funny to me, I post it.”
Apparently the Machiavellian question does not apply to Richie, who has no reason as to why he destroys reputations. He seems to just want to have a good time.
For those unaware of thedirty.com, it is a site where one can browse via location, college, athlete and celebrity, to view and post “dirt” on people who made the mistake of crossing a vicious blogger.
Postings on thedirty.com are completely anonymous and prove that anonymity emboldens the cowardice.
Browsing through the postings, not only does a reader learn more about creative possibilities regarding spelling, grammar and syntax that barely resembled the English language, they find defamatory gossip that has the potential to completely destroy a person in their attempt to pursue a career outside of college.
Just by looking at the premise of the site, many are appalled that such a site exists and have made efforts to take down Richie one lawsuit at a time. Slander and libel suits have run against Richie ranging from $1.5 million to $11 million losses, with the most recent attempt skyrocketing to $50 million by a Fox 13 Memphis reporter, according to a Forbes article.
While the numbers being demanded by victims in court have reached egregious heights (and rightly so), the site has remained live due to First Amendment protections. Lawyers have argued that Richie’s problem child is in no way responsible for the persecution that becomes the victims of the malicious postings due to Federal Communication Laws that cannot hold a website accountable for content posted by users.
With these victories in court, Richie has continued to show his relief to his followers by tweeting, “I feel like $50 million bucks.”
On the website’s private policy page it states that if mentioned person(s) see their name affiliated with discriminating material they are more than welcome to send a request for the information to be taken down. In theory the policy page does bring some condolence that the fear of having slanderous accusations posted online brings most people, but is that really enough?
With a reported 15 million hits a month and a 72-hour cancellation process to take down a post, defamatory information goes a long way. While Richie and his followers known as “The Dirty Army” continue their humiliation of unsuspecting people, the only thing that could be said against Richie (besides the fact his personal grooming habits reveal some people genuinely do believe that The Backstreet Boys and the 90s never died) is that dirt sometimes comes first, and the only thing he is really guilty of is a felony.
Mary Gonsiorek is a senior English major from Fort Worth.