In a shocking story published by the New York Times on Saturday, a biracial teenager admitted he has no regrets for holding on to an old video of a high school classmate using a racial slur, only to make it public when it would cause her the most damage.
What are the details?
Last year, Jimmy Galligan, 18, was sent a video of Heritage High School classmate Mimi Groves, who is white and was the captain of the varsity cheerleading team, repeating the N-word while singing along to a rap song. The video was three years old, taken when Groves was just a freshman.
Galligan said he never saw the video prior to receiving it, but he immediately devised a plan to make Groves pay for her transgression. "I wanted to get her where she would understand the severity of that word," he told the newspaper.
And so that's exactly what Galligan did.
After George Floyd's murder in May, Groves, who had just made the cheerleading team at the University of Tennessee, urged her friends on Instagram to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Galligan then seized the moment, exploiting the racial unrest caused by Floyd's murder to make Groves pay. On the same afternoon that Groves posted in support of Black Lives Matter, Galligan posted the video of Groves using the N-word on social media, triggering a social media firestorm.
As the Times reported, the backlash against Groves was swift:
Once the video went viral, the backlash was swift, and relentless. A photograph of Ms. Groves, captioned with a racial slur, also began circulating online, but she and her parents say someone else wrote it to further tarnish her reputation. On social media, people tagged the University of Tennessee and its cheer team, demanding her admission be rescinded. Some threatened her with physical violence if she came to the university campus. The next day, local media outlets in Virginia and Tennessee published articles about the uproar.
The day after the video went viral, Ms. Groves tried to defend herself in tense calls with the university. But the athletics department swiftly removed Ms. Groves from the cheer team. And then came the call in which admissions officials began trying to persuade her to withdraw, saying they feared she would not feel comfortable on campus.
Groves, who, the Times emphasized, comes from an affluent family, has since enrolled at a local community college.
What did Galligan say about the controversy?
The young man told the Times he has no remorse for making Groves pay for her mistake. The Times positively reported Galligan's premeditated actions as holding Groves "accountable."
"If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened," Galligan said. "I'm going to remind myself, you started something. You taught someone a lesson."
Not all of Groves' classmates held the same vindictive attitude as Galligan.
When the social media firestorm against Groves erupted over the summer, one of Groves' friends, who is black, publicly defended her. Groves reportedly apologized to her friend for using the racial slur long before Groves was embroiled in controversy.
"We're supposed to educate people, not ruin their lives all because you want to feel a sense of empowerment," the friend said on social media.
Sadly, the friend then became the target of outrage and criticism, according to the Times.
What was the reaction?
After the Times published its story, Galligan was ridiculed online for his vindictive behavior. One person called him "psychopathic," while others described his actions as "malice posing as social justice."
But perhaps conservative writer Rod Dreher said it best, noting how Galligan's actions will likely backfire on him in the future.
"This Times story will follow Jimmy Galligan everywhere too. If that kid applied for a job at my firm, I would never hire him. If he were my co-worker, I would stay away from him, lest I offend him and get the Little- Anthony-from-The-Twilight-Zone treatment. He has shown the kind of person he is: a hateful progressive who takes pleasure in causing others unnecessary pain and suffering for the sake of virtue. He wants to terrorize others. Everybody who goes to college with him now, and who crosses his path, should consider themselves forewarned," Dreher wrote.