In October 2006, 19 year old Ashley Grills, posing as a romantically-inclined boy named Josh Evans, sent 13-year-old Missourian Megan Meier a MySpace message: "the world would be a better place without you." Later that night, Meier hanged herself. Now Los Angeles police are prosecuting. Their target? Not Ashley Grills, interviewed by Good Morning America in the clip above. Prosecutors say Grills was just acting on the behest of her employers: Meier's neighbors, Curt and Lori Drew. Granted immunity, Grills will take the witness stand against them. Late last year, it looked like MySpace might face legal trouble for its role in Meiers's death, but after police in Missouri refused to press charges against the Drews, the Fox Interactive company dodged that bullet, positioning itself as a victim of the Drews' fraud. Just like Meier.
Megan Meier was a Missouri teenager who hanged herself after bullying from a neighbor girl, abetted by the neighbor's mother. Because most of the bullying took place online, on MySpace, the story has a special appeal to the newsmedia—it's not just bullying, it's cyber-bullying. Good Morning America weighed in on the tragedy in a segment this morning. An excerpt appears above. It illustrates not only the importance of being careful "what you say online," but also the dangers of speaking extemporaneously on live television. Was "hanging on your every word" really the best choice of language there? CLIP »
Yesterday's article about Megan Meier, the Missourian 13-year-old who was cyberbullied by a crazed neighborhood mom until she hanged herself with a belt last year, made us think twice, again, about this whole 'internet' thing. 12-year-olds are saying things like, "Once you're on MySpace, you're trapped. You spend all your time online just trying to keep the negative stuff about you from spreading." And: "It's like I can't even do anything because everybody is sitting there with a cellphone just waiting for me to mess up." Seriously, guys, it is nice being able to look up movie times and look at LOLcats, but in general the whole thing should be shut down. [NYT]
A year ago, the 13-year-old Megan Meier began an online relationship with another MySpace user named Josh Evans. According to reports, the relationship began with flirtation, but ended in tragedy. Evans's last message to Meier read, "The world would be a better place without you." Shortly after reading it, Megan Meier ended her own life. You could call Josh Evans a cyberbully, except that Josh Evans wasn't real. He was a creation of Meier's neighbors, Curt and Lori Drew.