Boxer Curtis Woodhouse has a message to all cyber-bullies who terrorize under the semi-anonymous guise of Twitter: #Iwillfindyou.
The former British lightweight champion, Curtis lost his title last weekend to boxer Shayne Singleton. Ever since handing over the title, he’s been tormented by a Twitter user who calls himself “The Master,” twitter handle @jimmyob88, who has sent him various profanity-laden tweets taunting him about losing the title.
Well, it seems he has had enough. On March 11 he drove over 70 miles and showed up on the cyber-bully’s street, tweeting a picture of the street sign for Mount View Road in Sheffield, England, with the caption: “right Jimbob im here !!!!! someone tell me what number he lives at, or do I have to knock on every door.”
He even let his Twitter tormentor know he was coming, tweeting in the hours leading up to his arrival that he was on his way to Sheffield to “have a chat with an old friend.” Other tweets included that he was 17 miles away and offered £1,000 to anyone who could provide him with the cyber-bully’s address.
According to sports-writer Martin Rogers, “The Master” then took to a more private sector of the internet to send Woodhouse a series of apologetic messages, claiming that his tweets were meant as jokes.
At 5:09, a little over an hour after arriving in Sheffield, Woodhouse tweeted that @jimmyob88 “never came out to play” so he was leaving. “Sometimes enough is enough,” he tweeted, referring to his bold move to track down the internet troll.
Since the story broke, Woodhouse’s Twitter has been flooded with comments of support and encouragement for his act. Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis applauded him; other twitter uses called him the “Liam Neeson” of Twitter for tracking down the persecutor. Woodhouse tweeted that he “knows people” in response.
Cyber-bullying has been a hot-button issue in recent years, among both professional athletes and celebrities, who are often the victims of Twitter feuds or cyber-tormenting—professional tennis player Rebecca Marion retired at 22, and cited internet harassment as the reason—and among middle school and high school students who use the medium to torment classmates, most likely because of the anonymity that it offers.
Woodhouse may have simply wanted to scare his cyber-bully enough to get him to stop the vicious tweets; it may have been a harmless, if not frightening, joke to demonstrate that the “troll” wasn’t as safe behind his keyboard as he thought. Either way, the message is loud and clear: there is a very real way to fight back against cyber-bullying. Woodhouse’s story may cause a few so-called “keyboard warriors” to think twice before they send another threatening or demeaning tweet.