‘The Most Hated Man on the Internet’ Review: How Media Sensationalised an Internet Bully
Netflix’s three-part documentary series The Most Hated Man on the Internet, directed by Rob Miller, focuses on the story of a mother determined to seek justice against the self-proclaimed “professional life ruiner” or “King of Revenge Porn.” In a series of interviews with the victims and authorities involved in the case, Charlotte Laws and her daughter Kayla describe their harrowing story of dealing with Hunter Moore, who founded IsAnyoneUp.com in 2010. It is a website that is infamous for posting nudes of women and men, especially the former, online without their consent. The website has since been defunct and Moore sold the website to an anti-bullying website in a shocking turn of events, but not before everything that happened and the truth was revealed.
When Kayla took nude pictures of herself in her bedroom and shared them to her email address, she never imagined her life to turn upside down. When she woke up the next morning, she was bombarded with notifications about her private pictures being posted online for the whole world to see, along with her phone number and Facebook profile. She told her mother Charlotte about the incident and they contacted Hunter Moore to remove the pictures but he ignored them. Charlotte contacted Hunter and then his lawyer to delete the pictures and when that wasn’t successful, she started investigating all by herself to find other victims who might have become Hunter’s prey. She was met with threats from his cult, but that didn’t stop her — far from it. Many of Hunter’s victims are interviewed in this three-part documentary series, and they talk about the abusive tactics he would use to coerce them into taking pictures via video chat. His website was exclusively known for posting explicit photos, or revenge porn, from ex-partners who wanted to take revenge. But the worst part of the documentary series is that Hunter never showed any remorse for his actions and the consequences were dire to the point where they ruined the lives of many of his victims.
The Most Hated Man on the Internet uses extensive archival footage of Hunter, which was uploaded on his YouTube channel and videos from club appearances. While it is important to express both sides of the conversation in terms of documentary filmmaking, Hunter was approached for an interview but refused to take part in it. The documentary series speaks of Hunter’s actions without his perspective, since his behaviour and the way he treated his victims were without any remorse. The entire documentary is told from the perspective of his victims, and one of the stories is the forceful nature of a mother protecting her daughter. It’s not just a story about seeking justice, it’s also a story about finding the path to healing.
The documentary series highlights the work Charlotte had done to track down the victims and the effort she had gone through to make sure Kayla’s pictures were deleted from the website. This is the focus of the documentary, and it’s heartbreaking and cathartic. But Charlotte’s work didn’t stop with Kayla, she went on to find more victims and collected months’ worth of evidence against Hunter and his reign of superiority. Every single victim shared the same story; they were hacked and their pictures were posted on the website without their consent, which led to devastating results. When the victims approached Hunter to delete the pictures, he decided to make their lives much worse by asking his minions, or his cult members, to bully and viciously attack them online. Death threats and sexually graphic messages were shared on the website and Hunter was seen as a King amongst mortals. What’s worse is the media’s focus on his ‘extravagant’ life and how they used it to minimise the damage Hunter had done to the victims.
In a 2012 Rolling Stone article, Hunter was bestowed the title of “The Most Hated Man on the Internet” and it told the story of how he wanted to become a “new-media kingpin in the old-fashioned way — through drugs, women and porn.” The media’s role in every single situation where it involves giving a platform to an abusive and manipulative man is a tale as old as time. In this case, Hunter’s actions and his ‘empire’ were more of his focus rather than the victims, who were suffering every day due to his behaviour towards them. The Most Hated Man on the Internet focuses on the number of outlets that reached out to him during his reign of terror and interviewed him because he seemed different. However, it seems like even his actions during the interviews weren’t enough to change their minds about him. During his rise as the new media mogul — or rather, a person who destroyed people’s lives — he was under a lot of pressure and his time was already running out.
In the end, Hunter’s infamous website was taken over by James McGibney, an anti-bullying activist who made him go on TV and apologise to the public for his actions. But it was clear that he was nowhere close to understanding the consequences. When FBI investigators uncovered evidence of Hunter and his accomplice Charles Evens conspiring to hack the victims’ email accounts and commit identity theft, Hunter plead guilty to felony charges of identity theft and unauthorised access to a computer to obtain information for private purposes, and he spent two years in prison.
For Kayla and many of Hunter’s victims, they have healed. But they are still haunted by a man who destroyed their lives beyond repair and it’s a harrowing experience to go through. The Most Hated Man on the Internet is a documentary series that shows how the media sensationalises men of this status, unaware of the damage they have done to others. Revenge porn isn’t something that the media or anyone should thrive on, and there are many people who are calling to end this type of online abuse. One of the many people advocating to end revenge porn — or what it’s commonly known as now, intimate imagery abuse — is Charlotte, the fearless mother who stopped at nothing to take down the internet bullies.
The Most Hated Man on the Internet is currently streaming on Netflix.