4
| News |

A Dallas Mom Is Trying to Take Down Chimpmania.com after Site Targets Quadruple-Amputee Daughter

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

A year ago, CBS 11 brought the world the tragic but ultimately hopeful story of Whitney Mitchell. The Dallas woman, 21 at the time, had been an aspiring dancer until sepsis took all four limbs when she was 18. She was learning to walk again with prosthetics and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer.

Not everyone found her story heartwarming, as Mitchell soon learned from the Internet.

"Every now and then she'll Google her name," Mitchell's mother, Patricia Kirven, explains. Not out of vanity but because paraphiliacs, aka "devotees," will "steal her pictures, and they'll put them on these kind of amputee-porn sites."

Finding those was disturbing, but more upsetting to Mitchell and her mother was a post she found on Chimpmania.com.

If you're not familiar with Chimpmania, or if the name isn't sufficiently self-explanatory, its a web forum devoted to mocking African Americans in the most vile way imaginable. It's described here as a "hate site consisting of permabanned rejects from Niggermania and Chimpout."

The post that Mitchell stumbled upon, title "amputee wants legs to dance wiff," featured various screenshots from the CBS 11 story, crudely doctored to add watermelon, fried chicken, malt liquor and commentary that's mostly too vile to repeat.

Mitchell was distraught for a couple of days and remains upset, but she has mostly accepted it as an inevitable byproduct of the Internet.

Her mother, however, is still pissed.

"I just made it my mission to get that website taken down," Kirven says.

She scored a minor success early on when she notified Warner Brothers that her daughter's images had been placed into copyrighted images, one featuring Larry the Cable Guy, another a screenshot from the film Dolphin Tale. The original post was removed but was quickly replaced by one that was clean of copyright violations.

Kirven doesn't have a lot of options for getting that second post, much less the entire website, taken down.

The First Amendment offers broad protections to speech, even the type of invective spewed on Chimpmania. Supreme Court precedent holds that hate speech is permissible, so long as it doesn't directly incite lawless actions. Hurling racist insults at a quadruple amputee, while disturbing, doesn't seem to rise to that threshold. The lawyers Kirven has spoken with have told her as much.

Instead, Kirven is trying to rally enough of a public outcry that Cloudflare, the company that hosts Chimpmania, boots the site. So far, her Change.org petition has collected close to 22,000 signatures.

So far, the company hasn't responded.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.