The Twittersphere erupted in fiery outrage at a 13-year-old Youngstown, Ohio, boy who videotaped himself walking from his front porch to his bus stop. Mark Berenger, a budding videographer and YouTube personality with 5,760 followers, also acted as a reliable narrator by saying hello to his neighbors, sharing his thoughts on his favorite baseball players, his extracurricular activities, and his attraction to his science lab partner Jennifer Owens.
As he was videotaping himself with his smartphone on a selfie tripod, the enthusiastic 7th grade honors student at Merrickville Hudson Middle School said, “I’m getting over the mediocre hump of creating several boring bad videos for you guys so I can learn this craft and one day make an exciting video that you all will want to sit through and watch until the end. Anyway, really looking forward to seeing Jen in Earth Science later. She was lookin’ fine on Friday.”
But that’s when Berenger had struck a nerve with several hundred of his followers, and after several retweets, he was trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons with dedicated trolls using the hash tag #cancelMarkBerenger.
This is wrong on so many levels,” said feminist Sally Jones, a hair dye entrepreneur who has 560,000 followers. “He didn’t identify what pronouns he associates with. It’s offensive. We can’t just assume these things. And why is he sexualizing his lab partner? That’s harassment."
“Disgusting!” remarked Lloyd Peters, an animal activist for homeless turtles. “Twitter do your thing. Take him down.”
By the end of the school day, and less than six hours since Mark shared his video on YouTube, and shared the link on his Twitter account, he was blocked by 15 close followers, received an email from Twitter that his account would be temporarily suspended pending an investigation, and he was called to Principal Higgins office, who sternly asked him for an explanation and an account of his actions.