You all know me. I’m not the most controversial human on the planet. I like me some dumb TV shows and some Sharks hockey and some Sandman comics and I whine a lot, but I’m not particularly controversial. I stay away from politics or anything even partway inflammatory. (ie, I’m pretty dull.)
So you know if I’m calling someone a fucktard I’m pretty pissed off.
Mr. Kenneth Tong is a fucktard.
Apparently he was a rich nobody from the UK’s Big Brother, but he rose to Twitter fame (infamy) last week with a series of tweets that were pro-“managed anorexia.” Yep. You read that right. Managed. Anorexia.
The tweets are gone now. The only remnants on his twitter profile are the items he retweeted, other people either telling him he’s an ass or telling him how much he’s helping motivate them. I saw the tweets live, but now I’m trying to find screen captures and failing (if anyone has any/knows of any, let me know).
Celebrities including Gordon Ramsay, Rihanna, and Simon Cowell attacked him (Tong had claimed that Ramsay was on his side, kind of forcing Ramsay to respond). A large portion of the internet attacked him. Which meant he was retweeted and talked about and made into an even bigger deal. There were many campaigns to block him/mark him as spam enough times that Twitter would shut him down. If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember me bitching about him last week but without linking—I didn’t want to give the asshole any more air time than he was already getting.
But some people weren’t attacking him. Some people—I don’t want to say all girls but the only ones I saw were girls—were listening to his message. Some people were following his profile for the inspirational words he was tweeting. Because ANOREXIA IS A DISEASE. And anorexics will listen to someone who is promoting the unhealthy ideal they are unhealthily trying to reach, because to them it is perfectly reasonable. Even though it is absolutely not.
Tong congratulated one girl on being his youngest follower. He promised a “size zero” pill. He encouraged people not to eat meals, so they do not get “fat.” To get thin or die trying. He basically fed the anorexic’s disease.
Part of me was thinking, “Can this be real? This has to be some sort of weird hoax, right? Nobody can be this much of a fucktard, RIGHT?”
And then, yesterday, this tweet:
I think it is time for to come clean. The whole size zero thing is a hoax. It came about after an interesting discussion I had with a friend of mine. The discussion centered round whether it was possible, to go from nowhere to be a globally recognized figure within a week harnessing the power of the internet and specifically Twitter, which I have always maintained is a better medium than national TV. My friend said it wasn’t possible. I said it was. To prove him wrong, I decided as a hoax to promote via Twitter something that was universally appalling, I chose managed anorexia. I would like to make it clear, I chose the subject as a hoax as I knew it’d be appalling to men and women. The campaign has worked; I have been a Trending topic on Twitter for over a week. I am scheduled to appear on TV, the Press and Radio shows, over the course of the next week: Grazia, Telegraph, The Sun, The Sunday Times etc. Now it’s time to come clean and stop the bandwagon. My honest personal opinion on managed anorexia is it is an disgusting and illogical idea. It is a mental illness. It cannot be managed. To all the people I have offended as part of this scientific experiment, I would like to apologize to you and to show my sincerity I will making a sizeable donation to beat: the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families. Furthermore, I have decided to auction my custom Apple iPod Nano watch on Ebay, the proceeds from this will be going to the charity, beat.
You’re still a fucktard, Mr. Tong.
You obviously don’t understand the seriousness of an eating disorder if you think it’s a good idea to make a joke out of it, to use it to achieve a personal goal. Yes, you achieved your goal. You manipulated people using something absolutely inflammatory, you got celebrities to namecheck you by forcing them to deny involvement in your “movement.” But you increased your fame by manipulating people’s relationships with a disease. I have no statistics to back this up, but I would guess it is difficult to find someone who is not personally affected by an eating disorder, either their own or that of someone close to them. You preyed on people’s emotions and vulnerabilities to prove a point and win 15 (more) minutes of fame.
You are disgusting.
But wait. Word is that it wasn’t actually a hoax. That you’re just backpedaling.
Johann Hari interviewed Tong before this apology tweet, and claims that Tong’s tone changed dramatically through the course of the interview after being informed of the legal trouble he could get into for his vicious words:
…he passionately defended every word he had said, but when I told him that his arguments could kill young girls and expose him to serious legal liability, he visibly began to panic. […] After his ‘revelation’, he said “it was dangerous ground we were treading on, I can see that now” and begged me not to publish his comments. So I don’t believe it was a hoax at all — but that he was finally scared off by the legal implications of what he was saying and doing.
The full article is fantastically done but very sobering, and I suggest you read it. Tong really does come across as mentally disturbed.
Which, to get back to the main point of this post, doesn’t excuse him from being a fucktard.
I don’t really care if it was a hoax or not. If it was a hoax it was vile thing to do to people who already have medical and emotional problems. If it wasn’t a hoax… then you’re just a straight up disgusting human being with entitlement issues.
Personally, I’m leaning towards not-a-hoax. Hari’s article is very convincing. And if it was a hoax, Mr. Kenneth Tong, why did you delete all of your tweets? Wouldn’t you have wanted them there for posterity to show how you did it, how you won the internet?
And it is possible to do this sort of thing as a hoax and actually make your point. See the Dutch TV show hoax from a couple of years ago. Purportedly a competition to see who among 3 contestants would receive a liver transplant, it was actually a fakery to highlight the shortage of organ donors in the Netherlands. The outcry was enormous, but it achieved its goal. A much more valid goal than the one you claim.
But like I said, I don’t care. Either way—fucktard. I’d tell you to fuck off and die, Mr. Tong, but unlike some people I don’t promote death on the internet.