Disturbing, sad, and upsetting can’t completely describe racist website chimpmania.com, an online forum dedicated to mocking the African-American community. As of this writing, the website has 95,253 threads with hateful comments, plus 980,353 posts with cruel photomontages. The site statistics also show that currently, they have 2,689 active members and notes, “Active members are those that actively participate in Chimpmania at least once a month.”
On multiple occasions, the hard to read and watch site had a petition of removal on change.org, another website that focuses on kick-start campaigns, mobilizes supporters, and works with decision-makers and lawmakers to provide solutions to the community. The most recent and notable campaign started after a Dallas mom found her quadruple-amputee daughter was featured on chimpmania.com in a post titled: “amputee wants legs to dance wiff,” featuring despicable commentary, insensitive photo compositions and more.
The now-closed petition, started by Tricia L., had 30,520 supporters and asked to remove the racist forum permanently. “We demand that you PERMANENTLY remove the website “Chimpmania.com,” reads the pledge targeted to Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare.com the company that hosts Chimpmania and Robert Briscoe, CEO of Internet Brands (VBulletin).
“This website spews hatred and promotes violence against people of color and the disabled. Not only has this repulsive website targeted my daughter and photoshopped highly offensive pictures regarding her race and disability, but has systematically targeted children and the disabled,” Mrs. Tricia L. continued. “These hate mongers hide behind what they think is the 1st amendment, but call it what it really is – CYBERBULLYING!.”
The First Amendment, according to the Constitution of the United States of America, prevents the government from making laws which regulate “an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This means that even though this website is incredibly hateful, the Supreme Court principle establishes that hate speech is permissible if it doesn’t directly incite “Imminent lawless action.”
Supporters of the campaign like Whitney Williams from Baton Rouge said, ”This is disgusting. Words can really hurt a person emotionally and mentally. You wouldn’t want people to treat you this way…so why let others treat another this way (especially someone who has a disability that cannot be helped).”
Others that shared their reasons for signing described the racist website as “completely inhumane” and that all the active members and lurkers “haven’t evolved with the rest of us.”
The desperate mother finished her statement by adding that “these cyber trolls also attack anyone who supports the victims of this website. Please show that you support equality and not racism! Remove it now!” She also updated the pledge by sharing the lyrics of Depeche Mode’s song “People Are People.”