Over the five years, anonymous Lena Chen hate blogs proliferated, packed full of links to other anonymous Lena Chen hate blogs as well as sexual slurs, the original naked photos and the names of the targets over and over. The names and links were a way to strategically elevate the posts in Google’s search results. It’s known as “Google bombing,” or, in the words of the online vigilantes, “getting googlefucked.”
In 2009, the harassment campaign included a fake news article about how Chen’s employer regretted hiring her. There were hundreds of posts on the online forum AutoAdmit alone. In late 2010, the harasser(s) started diligently dissecting everything Chen did on social media in detailed timelines.
Hamm has paid more than $10,000 on reputation management services to clean up his Google profile. His family name has been dragged around the Internet in such a grotesque and inexplicable way that he says his relationship with his parents and other relatives is “permanently damaged.” After close to six years of dating, most of Hamm’s family aren’t actively trying to get him to break up with Chen anymore. But they certainly aren’t too fond of her.
The harasser appeared to want Chen, and anyone who dared to stand by her, to have Google results so repugnant that it would infect their real lives, thwarting job hunts and sabotaging relationships. It’s possible that the detractor(s) simply wanted Chen to feel so mortified that she’d stop blogging, and the fact that she refused, year after year, provoked them into intermittent torrents of hateful, pornographic rage.
This story about cyber bullying — particularly cyber bullying of a feminist — is one that needs to be told more often in mainstream media.