TRIGGER WARNING - SUICIDE, BULLYING
April 23, 2019 - One week ago, Adrianne Curry-Rhodes began her “I'm back! Coffee! Honeymoon, GOT!” Facebook live video with, “Hello, good morning, bitches!” and then, about seventeen minutes into the video, the former model told a woman who allegedly prank called her hotel room to kill herself:
“I know you’re watching, because that’s what people like you do. I truly hope you kill yourself. And I mean it. Like, the world doesn’t need any more people like you. It just doesn’t. Like, we already live in a fucked-up world, we don’t need any more like you. Anyone willing to do that really doesn’t deserve the air they breathe.”
1.3 million people follow her on Facebook, and as of this writing, this video is still live and has garnered 15,000 views, even though an editor here at Women with Guts reported the link to Facebook because of the repeated encouragement for a specific Avon employee to kill herself, as well as Curry-Rhodes threatening to kill the woman if she ever meets her in person.
In the video, Adrienne Curry-Rhodes details how she picked up her hotel phone and a woman at the other end of the line asked to talk to her husband Matthew, “Cuz i met him last nite and he’s gonna take me out for drinks.” Curry-Rhodes says she replied, “What?” and the female caller said, “Ya, I met him last nite and we’re totally gonna meet him for drinks. Are you his sister?”
Instead of chalking this up to a childish, thoughtless prank and reveling in the security of her relationship, Mrs. Curry-Rhodes chose to give her viewers a look inside her thought process, all while applying Avon makeup, which she sells and tries to recruit others to sell. Her inner monologue to the caller went like this:
“Yeah, because you met a grown man on his honeymoon with his wife’s company and he snuck out while she was sick - which he didn’t - and then he was dumb enough to give you his honeymoon suite number...like Matthew would give our honeymoon suite number!...This is three levels of, like, evil. The woman who did this needs to kill herself. Cuz people willing to try to ruin marriages and honeymoons don’t deserve to live. So if you’re watching, that’s you. You don’t deserve your life. That is next-level evil that’s like satanic. I can be a dick, but I couldn’t fathom ever doing anything so awful…”
Interestingly, Curry-Rhodes doesn’t see how telling another person to take their lives could be construed as “awful,” even though we would wager the vast majority of people on a global scale would call that categorically awful. The newlywed grew more agitated and described her process of tracking down the caller:
“So we call the front desk. Yeah, we’re trying to figure out who pranked the room because, dude, it was hurtful. It was only the Avon higher-ups that knew our room...The hotel confirmed that it was not hotel staff and that no one got patched through. So it was someone in our hotel that knew our direct number, that called - which makes it even more fucked up! So whoever works at Avon that did that, you don’t know my husband. He doesn’t drink! What kind of desperate whore would call someone’s honeymoon claiming that their husband wanted to take them out for drinks?”
Surprisingly, even though Adrianne Curry-Rhodes works for Avon herself, she seemed to give not a shit about dragging the company’s name into the conversation. Instead of simply saying, “I know who it was, I know it had to be one of just a few women who attended this work event,” Curry-Rhodes seems to enjoy specifying that these women are not just co-workers - they’re AVON coworkers.
After saying this, she then confirms how much she hates humanity, proceeds to peddle her products (Dual Elixir and Reversalist eye cream) to the 15,000 humans watching her scrub and rub her face, then returns to her diatribe and threatens to kill the woman:
Adrianne Curry-Rhodes takes her viewers on a dizzying roller coaster ride from threatening murder, to dissecting the Games of Thrones episode (Oh, the Game of Thrones…it was garbage water. Like, if water full of garbage actually found a way into a form of sort, it would have been that episode of Game of Thrones…”), and then on to blatant ignorance and trans-phobic speech:
“Like I don’t like Kendra, I’m not on her page like, Hey, remember when your husband cheated on you with a fuckin’ man-woman? No. Like, who cares? Who cares? Like, what kind of piece of shit would I be?”
She then quickly pivots to a bizarre moment where she simultaneously mocks people dealing with depression while trying to pull them into the Avon sales pyramid:
“So, yeah, like, if you are every sitting there and you’re like, you know what, I should spend my day bashing people online, like, really reassess your life, and ask yourself, like what the F am I doing with my life?...If you’re sitting at home and you’re depressed and you’re a stay-at-home mom, get a fucking job. Get a fucking job. Get a fucking job….Get a fucking job! You’ll feel good, you’ll accomplish things...you’ll make your own money, you’ll you’ll feel real good, like, you’ll feel like a productive member of society…”
“There’s so many people I know that go online, ‘Oh i’m so depressed -I just sit here and I drink all day and I’m sad and I’m online every moment..and it’s like, get a fucking job! I sell Avon, I fucking love it. If you love the Internet that much, sell Avon with me, build yourself a team, do some live-streams. And at the end of it, you might sell a bottle of Elixir and you’ll be like, damn i feel good. Like, I went on the Internet today and instead of just being the Truman show, I actually fucking did something!”
She then continues to mock transgender people by calling herself a man-woman and speaking in a lower, masculine voice. But she can’t resist returning again to the mystery Avon hotel caller, this time describing how she would “throat-punch” the person:
“If I ever found out who did that to me from Avon, I wouldn’t even say anything to them. I would go up to them with a smiling face and with all my strength and all my weight - and I am a big girl - I would throat-punch them. And I would hope that anything over five pounds of pressure would collapse their windpipe and then I could watch them die. I’ve never hated anyone so much. I love my husband so much, dude. Trying to jeopardize this after everything I’ve been through? No. You don’t even deserve to live. Like, get out of here.”
1, Can we say, Restraining-order-time??! 2, This kind of speech is unacceptable, but especially problematic for someone with the influence and reach Curry-Rhodes has. With 1.3 million followers on Facebook, she must be held responsible for the content she broadcasts online. Suicide is a serious issue and should not be joked about, nor encouraged. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and every day 129 people die by suicide in the United States.
Facebook seems to want to help people who are suicidal, and they have added more human workers to add to the AI already in place. But that’s not enough. Even after our editor reported the vile video to Facebook, it was not removed. Adrianne Curry-Rhode’s hate-filled Facebook video is still live. Many other people reported it, and we hope you will too.
Facebook’s reply to our editor was that they reviewed the video and “it doesn’t go against one of our specific community standards…” This is in direct conflict with what Facebook says on their own site regarding community standards: “We aim to prevent potential real-world harm that may be related to content on Facebook.”
If telling someone to kill themselves is not a violation of Facebook standards, then their standards need to be changed. And if the person Adrianne is telling to kill herself does, we think that not only Adrianne Curry-Rhodes should be held responsible, but so should Facebook.
Facebook’s reply: Not against our community standards
There is already precedent for holding people who incite suicide responsible. Michelle Carter was convicted in 2017 for manslaughter in her boyfriend’s suicide case because she sent him texts urging him to commit suicide. In November 2018 Graham Morant was convicted for telling his wife to kill herself, which she did. Justice Peter Davis of the Supreme Court of Queensland sentenced Morant to ten years in prison. He is believed to be the first person in Australia to be sentenced for counselling suicide.
Our editor describes her own online bullying: “I used to stream on Twitch, and stopped partly because my viewers constantly told me to kill myself. This made me feel depressed, and at times suicidal. Words carry weight.”
Recently, British Prime Minister Theresa May unrolled a proposal that outlines new regulations for social media companies, holding them responsible for a “duty of care“—which includes strict penalties if hate speech is not policed and telling someone to commit suicide, publicly, is hate speech. May said, in a recent tweet, “Online companies must start taking responsibility for their platforms, and help restore public trust in this technology.”
Several other countries around the world have already imposed strict monitoring and limitations on violent content and content that incites violence. The United States must follow suit.
The American Public Health Association released a study that shows that social media does have influence on suicides. To pretend it does not is an injustice to people harmed by online bullying and hate speech.
We, as a society, can and must do better. We cannot allow social media platforms to run amok and unmoderated, because we know that words matter. We know that online bullying and violent speech has led to suicide - but there is a way to stop it, if we join together and say, ENOUGH!
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the CRISIS Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. Or find support at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. You are not alone.