Kelly Slater and the lovely world of internet hate
Words by Morgan Williamson
If you read this site, you know, participate, scoff and awe at the pure malice that seeps its dark blood into the comment section. The internet’s the world's biggest hub of hatred, racism and pure unadulterated filth. It’s the only place you can find adorable cat photos, and literally anything far beyond your most depraved imagination. Online hatred’s like road rage, someone cuts you off, you throw both your middle fingers up in absolute aggression and exhale a steady flow of profanity safely behind your windshield. Then they wave ‘sorry’ and suddenly all’s forgiven. Except in the internet world millions of people read and react from the safety of their keyboards, typically unprovoked and nobody’s waving ‘sorry’.
Mr Slater announced earlier today the winner of that fundraising sweepstakes. You know, the one where you win a trip to Tavarua with Kelly and Shane and Kelly gets a tattoo of you and you become Shane’s new best friend? Well, the winner’s a lovely lady by the name of Staci from Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles and she and her niece will be joining to the two on their vacation. Neither of whom surf, but that’s besides the point… well, it should be. But instead it’s become the topic of a new social media hailstorm. The sweepstakes didn’t require a surfer, it just was ideal for one. Staci has the same right to win as anybody who donated. She dropped $100 towards the charities because she agrees with the causes. Her name was chosen at random and any participant could be in her position. So, obviously the wolves of the internet feasted on Mr Slater’s announcement like Staci, her niece and Kelly were injured deer. It was a ravenous, unnecessary bloodbath of fanged fingertips. An onslaught of personal attacks occurred, all because Staci who donated like many others, happened to win. Then Kelly broke one of social media's biggest rules, don't fight back. It's useless, like a verbal exchange from the ground floor with aggressors on a balcony. No matter how good your comebacks, the people on the balcony will always win because they're untouchable and are on a god damn balcony.
Here’s Kelly’s original post:
Full text: So we've just picked our winner for the trip that @shanedorian and I put together with @omazeworld. Staci from Hermosa Beach, CA just won the draw after donating $100 because she 'liked the charities'! She's bringing her niece with her and we leave two weeks from yesterday. I'm so stoked that someone who just donated to support the cause got chosen. She said she's never won anything. She doesn't surf but has always loved surfing and skating as sports and she got the #GoldenTicket! And as for the funds raised...we'll do a final tally and let everyone know how much it was and where it is all going shortly. I'll just say I'm totally blown away by this and it's been a great experience getting the chance to do this fundraiser. Congrats, Staci. See you in two weeks! And to everyone who took part and donated...thanks so much. I'm glad nobody I know won even though I got about a hundred texts ensuring I get their names pulled! Ha.
“It was just a fundraiser. The winner was a totally random selection,” Shane Dorian tells me. “Nobody was chosen, there was no basis on who was chosen. The selection went through a third party company. And there was no stipulation that the winner had to be a surfer. It’s just the internet and social media, people have no filters and just spit out the first thing that pops into their heads, that’s just the world we live in now. I guess a lot of people weren’t too stoked the person who won the trip didn’t surf.”
So in response Kelly posted this to his Insta:
Full text: I’m gonna do a little #SocialExperiment here. @shanedorian and I just had a giveaway and raised a phenomenal amount of money for four wonderful charities. A random winner was chosen as was promised and there are lots of people upset they didn’t get chosen or that a non surfer won. I get that. There are some wonderful comments from many people but a serious tone of negativity from probably a quarter or more of the comments. Just know that if you’re gonna comment publicly that you’d better be able to stand up for your words and that I’m happy to give you the stage as I’m gonna right here. I’m gonna take this down shortly but I just want an honest discussion about your thoughts on this sort of thing. Some serious haters and trolls came out of the woodwork to bash me personally and this process..some confused, some harsh. I’ve been called every name in the book. It’s actually entertaining but it’s kinda sad. I mean, I didn’t ever call up and yell at the people from Publisher’s Clearinghouse after I was promised $3M in the mail but didn’t receive it. Why ya’ll mad? All I can say is I am truly glad someone with these kinds of attitudes didn’t win and get a chance to experience Fiji in two weeks. Who knows, Staci and her niece might just leave this trip with a newfound love in their lives.
“I don’t understand all the name calling and stuff,” Shane continues. “I get it if somebody has truly offended you. But we were just trying to raise money, the whole point of this thing wasn’t really even the trip. It was just to raise money for causes me and Kelly care about. The trip gives people the incentive to donate, and something to talk about. Kelly tends to laugh off the internet haters. But because of the nature of this, I guess it offended him. People take it personally that they didn’t win, it’s pretty crazy.”
“The company (Omaze) approached me to do this experience thing and I didn’t want to do it by myself so I asked Kelly and he was stoked on it,” says Mr Dorian. “It’s just a way for people to feel good about giving money to causes that we support. The trip will be a lot of fun. We’re really excited for it.”
“It’s amazing how a good cause can breed so much negativity.”