The rise of social media has provided countless connective benefits to its users, but one of its many pitfalls is the ability it affords bullies and stalkers to anonymously harass their prey — a lesson actress Sophia Bush has learned all too well over the past few months.
Sophia Bush visits 'Extra' at Universal Studios Hollywood on September 23, 2014 in Universal City, California. (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
Bush, who currently stars in the TV show "Chicago P.D.," claims that she has been terrorized by a Twitter stalker for months. Every time she and her fans report the individual, he or she is blocked, but then returns with a new username and continues the harassment.
But this week, rather than maintain her silence on the matter, Bush responded in a big way, penning a fiery Instagram post along with a montage of screenshots exposing the full extent of the online abuse.
"For the past few months I have been harassed to the point of sheer horror by an online stalker. This person has taken to harassing and bullying many of my followers as well," Bush wrote Tuesday in an Instagram post. "And tonight I finally said f*** this s**t."
The actress assembled more than 500 screenshots over the past three months — a collection she shared in an effort to show the troubling comments and to tell the world that this sort of behavior is simply unacceptable.
"I'm sharing it here to make something very clear. This kind of behavior does. Not. Fly. You do not have permission to hide. Not anymore: This has gotten beyond out of hand," she wrote, noting that the individual has been using the screen name @SophhiaBush to impersonate her. "Obsessive. Violent. And legally punishable."
While Bush said that law enforcement officials informed her that they are investigating and not to respond to the individual, she said she simply couldn't hold her silence any longer.
"Threatening rape, gang rape, & throat slitting to name a few? Impersonating me and breaking some of your hearts? Telling people they should kill themselves, and detailing how?," the actress continued. "Nope. No silence. As the evidence of staking and harassment mounts, so does my anger. Because this is grotesque."
See her response and the screenshots below (caution: strong language and content):
But anger isn't Bush's only emotion, as she said she feels sadness for the person behind the account; she wonders how and why he or she finds such pleasure in monumentally troubling behavior.
That said, Bush made it known that her frustration and anger trump her compassion, adding that this person has no right "to spread poison."
She also apologized to any of her fans who have been harassed by the purported bully.
So far, the actress said that the individual behind the account has had nearly 20 different usernames over the course of the harassment. As of Wednesday morning, though, the @SophhiaBush account is no longer active.
"None of us deserve one more moment of your bullying bulls**t."
(H/T: Perez Hilton)