Jessi Slaughter is Now A Boy Named Damien: Is Internet to Blame? [INTERVIEW]

Damn internet, you crazy!

So the long, sad story of “Jessi Slaughter” (an internet handle, not her real name) has taken an interesting turn lately with the reveal of a new character in the drama: a boy named “Damien.”

Admittedly, I am at a crossroads after having now talked with the internet pariah, who is back living with her mom deep in the reaches of Florida. She’s allegedly had several suicide attempts, did a tour of duty in foster care and has nude photos of her circulating the internet, forever being shared in chat rooms by perverts and sickos. She’s been the subject of national news, internet smear campaigns, and at one point was the poster child for online bullying. Now at the battle-hardened age of 14, she’s decided she’s more comfortable living life as a boy named Damien.

On the one hand, to talk to him over Skype, I get the notion that Damien is sharp and thoughtful — he accepts his life as “not so bad” because he “knows no other way.” He even takes a “whaddaya gonna do” approach to those child pornography images and handles drama better than most adults I know, saying he does not “blame the internet.” And yet, he is 14, sold on elective surgery, and as he terms it, is “in a relationship with a 39-year-old man.” And so, sanguine disposition notwithstanding, I have to wonder: Is the internet to blame for all this?

For those of you who weren’t into that whole “media thing” in 2010, Jessi Slaughter became a viral sensation after a video surfaced of the 11-year-old lashing out at her online peers over some salacious (and untrue) web gossip. A cautionary tale for letting your children become exposed to too much too soon in the Digital Era, Slaughter threatens, in the expletive-laden video, to put a Glock in her enemies’ mouths and turn their heads into “brain-slushees.” Posted to YouTube, that response video quickly bounced around the internet and wound up in the hands of the notoriously toxic 4chan forum.

  • person

    how the fuck do you know that? You don’t know Damien. How do you know without a doubt that the internet didn’t have a profound effect on how he sees himself and his gender? Show me the peer-reviewed research studies that say extreme environments (obviously like Jessi’s) do not affect someone’s view of their gender.

  • Reese

    okay i gotta correct you on thing here though, “this is a little girl bullied into believing life is easier as a guy”. nope. incorrect. ding dong you are wrong. this is a TRANSGENDER person that has come out and understood their own gender to be male, and he wants to transition and do things to make himself more comfortable. do not erase him being trans by saying things like that, it’s transphobic (albeit hopefully unintentionally on your part) and also very damaging.

  • Raylene

    I believe it is amazing to be able to see so far into others lives thanks to the Internet. We have watched Jessi form into Damien. This isn’t some television show with paid actors, it’s the real deal. He’s smart, having already finished high school! Rad! I think he has grown into a great and very thoughtful person, but how could anyone judge a child? He’s very mature. I’m impressed and wish nothing but peace and love <3 rock on Damien!

  • Smm2571

    Sure, she was obnoxious. But, so are plenty of adults. This kid was failed by her parents.

  • Jill

    Darn internet! Forcing her to take naked pictures of herself and post them online. She was so sweet and innocent before the internet got ahold of her, and now consequences will never be the same.

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  • anonymouse

    Buuuuut they weren’t untrue, she did everything that was rumored, everybody knows that.

    Don’t post naked pictures on the internet and you won’t have things like this happen.

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