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Episode Recap: #CancelColbert
A tweet to cancel The Colbert Report sends one young woman into hiding, while British slang turns a holiday-bound traveler into a suspected terrorist.
Before one tweet sent Suey Park's life spiraling out of control, she was a proud activist who often spoke out about racism. So when Stephen Colbert made a joke that some, including Suey, deemed racist, Suey spoke out using the hashtag #CancelColbert. From there, Suey's number of supporters paled in comparison to the number of viral haters she started to amass. As if receiving hateful messages via social media wasn't enough, Suey's boyfriend dumped her and she lost several friends who no longer wanted to be associated with her. Things got even worse when she received a death threat in the form of a sniper, stationed outside of her bedroom window, threatening to kill her. In the aftermath Suey retreated to New York, where she encountered more verbal attacks. Since the hashtag that completely changed her life – for the worse – Suey has gone under the radar and is no longer active on social media.
Londoner Leigh Van Byran was so excited about his first trip to America that he decided to tweet about how he was ready to "destroy America." "Destroy" as in "party down and have a good time." But to Leigh's surprise The Department of Homeland Security read his tweet #literally. As soon as Leigh and his friend, Emily, landed in the United States they were interrogated for hours and accused on being terrorists. Despite Leigh and Emily vehemently denying the accusations, they still had to spend the night in jail. Once Homeland Security was clear that Leigh's tweet was purely meant as sarcasm, they were released from jail and promptly sent back to the UK. #tweetresponsibly
Read our exclusive follow-up interview with Leigh Van Bryan.