‘Suck It Up,’ Says Teen Who Deleted 11-Year-Old’s Destiny Characters
In the middle of the day on Thursday, February 19, Game Informer editor-in-chief Andy McNamara shared with me a video of a young boy who fell victim to an online predator. Henry, a fifth grade Destiny fan, handed his controller to a stranger via the PlayStation 4’s Share Play feature and watched in horror as “KirmitTHEfrog” deleted his characters and exotic weapons.
On the following Sunday, I received an email from the mother of the man that owns the KirmitTHEfrog account. For his protection after receiving hundreds of harassing messages via PSN, we’re calling him “Adam.”
Through a long trail of email correspondence with Adam and his mother, the pair claimed that while he owns the account, Adam is innocent, I learned about the 23-year-old’s head-on car collision (verified with a police report), his recuperation at home, and the tragic loss of his sister due to cancer in 2011 (made even more painful as some online harassers suggested that Adam “get cancer and die").
Today, I spoke with Adam and his mother by phone to follow-up in hopes of collecting additional evidence and to discuss other claims against the account that have surfaced. Since we posted his story on Sunday, I have fielded dozens of e-mail messages from readers. Some of have been polite encouragement or civil skepticism. Others have presented evidence that the KirmitTHEfrog account was a serial offender, which we know to be true. Still others had nasty things to say about one or more of the parties.
While on the phone tonight, I learned that the culprit had been identified. The young man is a friend of a friend, visiting one of Adam’s siblings (he is in a family of 11 children). Using the postings on Bungie.net about the account’s transgressions, Adam’s mother was able to figure out who it was.
We spoke with a 17-year-old tonight who admits he is the person that deleted Henry’s characters and those of at least three other players. For his protection, we will call him “Chris.”
Chris’ first recorded attack was October 31, the day before Adam’s accident. Chris was at the family’s home for a Halloween gathering. Adam was not in the house while the attack was going on.
“I saw party chat and Share Play options,” Chris said. “I thought it would be pretty funny to test them out.”
I asked Chris how many times he’s taken advantage of people, deleting their characters and items. “One time on Destiny,” he says. “I’ve done it on GTA before.”
When confronted with evidence of other harassment incidents, Chris admits the truth. “I’ve done it multiple times,” he says. “I think three? four? I thought it would be funny.”
Chris tells me that he hasn’t seen Henry’s video, depicting the most recent incident and the aftermath of the child crying. “I don’t pay attention to the news,” he says.
He did confirm that he doesn’t know the other person in Henry’s video (PSN ID: AztecStriker513) and that he decided to do this on his own that day. Adam confirmed that “Aztec” is on his PSN friends list and the two have played Destiny together.
Since Henry’s video spread across the Internet on Thursday, Adam has received hundreds of messages via PlayStation network threatening harm. One even threatened to find Adam and burn his house down.
I asked Chris what he thought about the harassment and threats Adam and his family have received. “It’s just human nature,” he says. “People get pissed on the internet and say what they want. It’s unfortunate.”
Sadly, Chris doesn’t seem remorseful. I asked him if this was something he would consider doing again. “It depends on the situation,” he says. “Maybe. Maybe not.”
As for Henry and the other victims, Chris did not seem sympathetic or regretful in the slightest. “Suck it up and move on with life,” he said. “What else is there to say?”
As for the harassment that has been directed to Adam and his family, Chris doesn’t believe he owes them anything. “I don’t think I have to say anything to them.”
At this point, Henry and his mother have moved on. The comments on the original video are closed.
Adam and his family hope that this brings closure and an end to the harassment. As for Chris, he won’t have the opportunity to do this again, at least not on Adam’s account.