Sue Scheff®- Media Rounds
Earlier media years.
It used to be that if someone wanted to defame someone else, office chatter and schoolyard gossip sufficed as ways to ruin a reputation. That’s not the case anymore. The rise of the Internet and its omnipotent accessibility has provided almost anyone in the world with the tools and savvy to alter online content. It’s now easier than ever to post blogs, comments, and even create websites dedicated to slandering someone’s online identity. One parent was unfortunate enough to experience this firsthand when she offered someone parental advice that the person did not seem to appreciate.
Featured on the Rachael Ray show, Sue Scheff was once merely a concerned mother. When her teenage daughter Ashlyn began exhibiting behavior such as sneaking out, defiance, and poor academic performance, Sue Scheff sought out any help she could find. When nothing proved to be of assistance, Sue Scheff turned to a residential treatment facility, where she truly thought Ashlyn would received the type of attention that would be tailored to her and help her succeed in life. Sue Scheff was shocked to learn that the program had the adverse effects on Ashlyn; Ashlyn reported being starved and neglected, among other horrors.
In response to this traumatizing experience, Sue Scheff founded P.U.R.E. (Parent’s Universal Resource Experts), an organization that offers advice to parents who are dealing with troubled teenagers. P.U.R.E. seeks to provide support and share knowledge through the exchange of stories and experiences, and is even a member of the Better Business Bureau. However, one parent who sought help from Sue Scheff and P.U.R.E. was less than satisfied with the advice she gave, and proceeded to tirelessly denigrate Sue Scheff’s name online.
Sue Scheff’s segment on the Rachael Ray show talks all about this experience. Sue Scheff says the person called her “evil,” and said that she “destroys families” and even “abuses kids”- three qualities with which Sue Scheff has never identified. Sue Scheff was devastated after learning of this slander, and eventually had to close down her office, work solely from home, and avoid going outside at all costs. She says she essentially became “agoraphobic.”
After finding slur after slur online about her and her parenting skills, Sue Scheff decided to seek legal counsel, and filed a suit against the woman who had attacked her online. Sue Scheff went through a stressful process of litigation dealing with this case, but was ultimately vindicated in the end- she was awarded $11.3 million in damages. Sue Scheff says the amount was so high because the jury wanted to send a message about Internet defamation.
Though it may seem like a somewhat benevolent resource, Sue Scheff’s own personal experience speaks to the fact that cyberspace is a dangerous forum, open to anyone at any time. She compares her troubles with cancer, noting that it “continued growing and was very hard to stop.” The fact is, once anything is posted online, it has the chance to spread like a disease.
Sue Scheff continues to run P.U.R.E., and although she can never fully retract what has been said about her online, she is on her way to living a normal life. She now tells people to be especially careful, because their lives and identities can be ruined “with just a few keystrokes.”
Parent advocate Sue Scheff was recently featured on CBC News Sunday, in a story about online reputation management. Sue Scheff became an expert on the topic when several years ago, an angry parent with a vendetta took to the internet to defame Sue Scheff and ruin her reputation online. In the CBC story, Sue Scheff discusses her ordeal, and offers tips to parents on how they can protect the online reputations of themselves and their children.
The report featured several reputation management experts who stressed that any personal information can make it online—whether true or not. The difference between the gossip and rumors of today and that of years prior, is that with the internet, there is now a permanent record of everything. Whereas gossip of the past may be quickly forgotten, now it is permanently archived for the world to see (unless of course it is somehow removed). Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly rare as hard drives get bigger and bandwidth gets cheaper. Further compounding the problem are blogs, message boards and social networking sites, which have proven to be a hotbed for gossip and defamatory remarks.
Sue Scheff and other experts featured offered several suggestions of what you can do if you become a victim of online gossip or defamation. Your first option is to try getting the material removed on your own. That can include trying to reason with the poster, or attempting to contact the hosting service that licenses the page the information appears on. If that doesn’t work, you might consider hiring a reputation defense service to work on your behalf to remove salacious online material, or even possibly hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, because there are very few laws governing the internet, this can often be a difficult or impossible task.
Rather than putting out fires once negative content about you has appeared, Sue Scheff and the featured experts recommend that individuals take a proactive approach to their online identity before any problems arise. By developing an online presence, you can in effect “dilute the impact” of any negative content that may someday appear. It’s also important for parents to make sure they check up on their children’s online identities from time to time. Find out if your kids have blogs or are members of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, and see what kind of content they’re posting on these sites. Risqué photos and content can cost them future admission to colleges, potential jobs, and cause many other problems if they aren’t careful now.
Battling “e-venge”: The Sue Scheff Podcast Report
Parent advocate, Sue Scheff™, was recently featured on i-Caught in an ABC News sponsored podcast, as well as the Mike and Juliet Morning Show, which is broadcast from Fox studios. Both productions feature segments on internet defamation and slander, and discuss the incredible ordeal Sue Scheff experienced when faced with vicious online attacks from a disgruntled parent seeking revenge. The media has notoriously dubbed this: e-venge.
Podcasts – i-Caught
The i-Caught podcast discusses the issue of e-venge, which refers to acts of revenge played out through the internet. The danger of e-venge is that it can be accomplished quickly and easily by anyone with a computer, but the ramifications can destroy victims’ lives.
Web sites like dontdatehimgirl.com provide forums for this new brand of revenge. Dontdatehimgirl.com allows users to post pictures and incriminating details about men they have encountered, and spreads these accusations over the internet. However, there is no real way to prove the authenticity of these vicious claims, which means simple gossip can easily spread to the computer screens of millions of internet users and effectively destroy the reputation of men named on the site. Dontdatehimgirl.com is only one of countless different avenues where slander can take place, as i-Caught special guest Sue Scheff™ would soon illustrate.
As a nationally recognized parent advocate and founder of P.U.R.E™, an organization designed to help parents with their troubled teens, Sue Scheff seemed above the horrors of e-venge. However, she would eventually fall prey to a dramatic form of internet slander, as a disgruntled parent began attacking her with disgusting lies and distasteful comments over various internet postings.
The ferocity of these attacks ruined Sue Scheff™’s digital reputation, forcing her into isolation for fear of people finding out about the comments circulating about her on the internet. The misleading series of attacks began to escalate from mere gossip, to falsely claiming the death of Sue Scheff™’s daughter. When Sue Scheff™ was faced with lies about her daughter’s death, she realized it was time to contact a company named Reputation.com.
Reputation.com helped clear Sue Scheff™’s online reputation, and effectively handled the lies circulating about her on the internet. Sue Scheff™ also took the attacker’s to court, and won an important law suit against them. The actions of Sue Scheff illustrate the need for accountability on the internet, because people are able to create posts without any proof or accountability, which creates a breeding ground of hate and lies. Sue Scheff was able to battle this slander, but it still remains a problem for countless people around the world.
Sue Scheff™’s i-Caught battle story effectively conveyed this warning; stop and think before posting vicious lies on the web.
Sue Scheff™’s battle with e-venge and cyber gossip is profiled during the Mike and Juliet Morning show. The show discusses a new study that reveals people are more likely believe simple gossip than the truth, and they use Sue Scheff™’s life changing encounter with internet gossip to demonstrate the power of these findings.
Even though Sue Scheff™ worked as a parent advocate for Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, a former client became angered by her and started spreading horrendous gossip on the internet. Those rumors started to spread like wildfire and ravaged her life.
By using the internet to spread nasty lies, Scheff’s attacker escaped accountability through the anonymity offered by internet posting. Sue became so isolated and scared that she feared meeting new people, terrified they would search her name on the internet and see what had been said about her.
When a piece of gossip surfaced about the false death of her child, Sue Scheff™ decided to fight back by using a company called Reputation.com. She was able to clear her name and battle the slander. Sue Scheff™ also won a lawsuit against the defamation, proving that there can be ramifications for internet slander.
Sue Scheff™’s story shows the power of unchecked internet viciousness to destroy lives, which has brought rise to companies like Reputation.com, who help people get their lives back to normal.
It can take a person only 20 minutes to create a truly damaging smear campaign about someone on the internet, and it can take hundreds of hours to fix. These pieces of slander can prevent you from getting jobs, going on dates, and living a normal life.
The show also profiles a man who received horrible slanderous comments posted about him on dontdatehimgirl.com. These comments were created by someone who never met him, but alleged his acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases and participation in disturbing deviant behavior. The man eventually sued the web site because of the horrible nature and the life altering damage these posts had procured.