A New York Times article published on Saturday promoted cruelty and vindictiveness towards a teen girl, Mimi Groves, after her classmate saved and recirculated a three-second video of her saying a racial slur in 2016.
“I wanted to get her where she would understand the severity of that word,” Jimmy Galligan, whose mother is black and father is white, told the Times of his petty act of revenge that caused Groves to lose college acceptances and become an international object of scorn.
Although the Times noted the video was first recorded in 2016 and retained by the teen boy in 2019, Galligan republished the video shortly after the death of George Floyd, and it went viral on Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter before being picked up by news outlets.
Shortly after Groves was accepted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and even asked to join the cheer team there, the extracurricular offer was removed, and she was forced to withdraw her application as the internet mob pushed for revenge.
“It honestly disgusts me that those words would come out of my mouth,” Groves told The New York Times. “How can you convince somebody that has never met you and the only thing they’ve ever seen of you is that three-second clip?”
In the article, the Times documented Galligan’s quest for revenge, but this instance of the cancel mob prevailing was not an isolated incident. “Ms. Groves was among many incoming freshmen across the country whose admissions offers were revoked by at least a dozen universities after videos emerged on social media of them using racist language,” the article said.
Instead of focusing on the faulty actions of both the teens involved in the situation, however, the article shifted the blame to the “racial insensitivity” promoted within the teens’ wealthy Virginia high school. The New York Times didn’t mention until one of the last paragraphs that Groves “personally apologized for the video long before it went viral.”
The article also noted that Galligan found “satisfaction” in canceling Groves. “If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened,” Galligan said. “I’m going to remind myself, you started something. You taught someone a lesson.”