Fascinating but shallow Netflix docuseries on Hunter Moore – The Hollywood Reporter

By Netflix The most hated man on the Internet ends by explaining why its title character only appears in archival footage. “Hunter Moore initially agreed to join this series but later declined our offer,” the screen reads. “We decided to use his image anyway.”

It’s ironic – considering Moore once catapulted himself to fame by capitalizing on the image of people of ill will – and easy to smirk. Maybe a little too easy. The documentary’s three-hour episodes go by quickly, thanks to its streamlined and fast-paced storytelling, and it delivers both the white outrage and gritty satisfaction promised by a guy’s downfall really made it come. But The most hated man on the Internet no ambition needed to lend it real and lasting.

Key point

Fascinating, if a bit limited in scope.

Release date: Wednesday, July 27
Executive producer: Alex Marengo

Produced by Raw TV (back costume The Tinder Swindler and Don’t F*ck with cats) and directed by Rob Miller, The most hated man on the Internet began its story in January 2012, when Kayla Laws, as she now recounts in an interview, the first discovered topless photos of her were published without her didn’t know. Did anyone fall? As for the site founded by Moore, it’s still up and running: Its content mostly consists of anonymously submitted photos, which are particularly notorious for having revenge porn – i.e. images. pornography that is distributed without the consent of the individuals contained therein.

In the eyes of Moore and his devoted followers, the fact that Kayla and other unwitting subjects never wanted their photos to be made public is a trait, not a fault, and humiliation and pain. Their suffering can be part of the joy. What made Kayla’s case different, however, was what happened next: She turned to her mother Charlotte Laws for help, whose crusade on behalf of her daughter would eventually expand. including dozens of other victims and a comprehensive FBI investigation.

What follows is presented, more or less, as a tale of good and evil. On one side are Moore and his devoted followers, who seem to enjoy playing villains: “If someone kills themselves because of being caught Did anyone fall?, do you know how much money I will earn? ” Moore is heard gloating in an undated interview. On the other hand are the goals of him and their defenders. The framework makes The most hated man on the Internet extremely easy to follow, even as the troves of documents weave through interviews with about half a dozen victims, and even as the campaign against Moore brings in big names like the hacker group Anonymous.

At the same time, the series is sensitive about detailing the experiences of Kayla and others like her. In stark contrast to the victim-blame repeated by many others, then and now – “Why would you take a picture like that if you don’t want it on the internet?” Kayla remembers a cop who asked her – the series listened without judgment. One of the toughest accounts comes from Destiny, known for Did anyone fall? fan is “Butthole Girl,” who recalls how she was manipulated through threats and promises to create content for the site she hopes can make some money. “I never got money from Hunter,” she said now, adding dryly, “But he gave me a t-shirt.”

Likewise, it’s wise to lay out the plot just enough for your heroes to both reinforce the role they play in the story and establish them as individuals with lives outside of it. For example, in a particularly amusing reveal of episode two, we learn that Charlotte briefly rose to fame in the 1980s for her success as a party-breaker. The anecdote portrays Charlotte as more than simply a caring mother, while emphasizing the courage and perseverance she brings to the fight she is waging on behalf of her daughter.

Meanwhile, this series does not attempt to understand Moore’s psyche or explain his biography. Arrive The most hated man on the InternetIt doesn’t matter why he is, or why he did what he did – what matters is his impact. It was a wise choice that prevented Moore’s views from overshadowing those of those he mistreated, and that negated him the terrible charm he had built. a lot of scandals around.

But if there is a downside of The most hated man on the InternetFocus the tension on the demotion of Moore and his website, which is that it leaves very little room for anything. but that. Not much is known about the cultural context surrounding the rise and fall of Did anyone fall?, even as the story cuts through complicated, urgent conversations about misogyny, our attention-grabbing economy, and our evolving legal and social understanding of online harassment. At one point, someone described Hunter as “the first internet troll”, an exaggeration that is surprisingly odd considering that (for name only but an example) 4chan has been around for about a year. decade ago. Did anyone fall?

The lack of curiosity gives The most hated man on the Internet disposable steam quality. Moore’s story was one that received a lot of attention at the time (including in Village voice and Rolling Stone biographies discussed in the literature) and one that is sure to be discovered again and again as we continue to look back at the pivotal era of online culture. But it’s hard to imagine this being the definitive word on it, when it has so little to say about what it means in a larger sense.

However, as a trove of material geared toward an internet-savvy audience in 2022 about events that took place a decade earlier, it comes down easily precisely because it gravitates toward the bigger picture. or more subtle shades for a simpler, more satisfying and ultimately more familiar arc. “Revenge is never pretty. But when it’s done in a meticulous, smart, psychological way, it’s definitely a great thing,” one person said of Hunter’s appearance. It’s hard not to repeat the smile on his face – it really feels good at the moment. A little less beauty and a little more mess, however, could have served the story better in the long run.

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