Love Liberty & Lip Gloss with Donna Lyons, Jefferson Keith Langley and Ima Sumac Watkins on Cyber Bullying
Last night, Love Liberty & Lip Gloss host Donna Lyons welcomed guests Jefferson Keith Langley and Ima Sumac Watkins to discuss their horrific ordeal with cyber bullying. Thanks to the malicious intent and actions of one disturbed individual, these two entrepreneurs nearly lost everything: their businesses, reputation, and personal relationships — even their ability to obtain a menial “pay the bills” job to tend to the most basic necessities.
It’s bad enough in a Digital Age that vulnerable teenagers are targets of this vile crime, but last night, listening to these two professionals share their story made me realize that no one is immune. And the worst part is, the way the law works, the burden of proof is on the victim, not the criminal. Furthermore, because the internet and social media make it easy for anyone to hide behind a computer screen and keyboard, producing the evidence that will stand up in court is next to impossible.
As the co-founder and co-owner of Writestream Publishing and Writestream Radio, I deal with a variety of clients and personalities. Some projects are more time-consuming and challenging than others. And although I always do my best and strive for excellence in every effort, I am only human. I’ve had to correct mistakes. Thankfully, everyone I’ve dealt with so far understands this.
But Jefferson and Ima’s story opened my eyes to the reality of running a business in an era of new technology. Much to their credit, they never gave up and battled their way back. You can listen to their full interview below, which I highly recommend.
Listeners of Writestream Radio know that Jefferson joined the network last November as the host of The Formula. As Donna’s friend, he’d been a guest on her show before, which led him to inquire about hosting his own program. After speaking with Jefferson and hearing his ideas, I happily offered him a monthly slot, which I produce. I could tell right away that he was a person of good character — and not just by virtue of the fact that he was a friend of a trusted friend.
As Ima mentions in the interview, most human beings today do an internet search on people, whether out of natural curiosity or palpable suspicion. With respect to Jefferson, I did my own internet search because his background and accomplishments were so impressive, I wanted to know more. That’s when I came across some alarming, vicious posts about him and Ima, which I dismissed outright. After thinking it over, I decided not to confront Jefferson, figuring he’d already spent countless hours and energy reclaiming his life and reputation. Besides, my intuition told me he was a man of honor. I had no reason to take the word of a coward with a computer and an intention to smear. I’m grateful he and Ima had the opportunity to give a detailed account of their experience on the air. Rather than wallow in the unfairness of it all, they have chosen to rise above it and become even better people.
Ultimately, their cautionary tale has inspired me to be increasingly mindful in all of my interactions, to continue documenting all communications, and to practice discernment with every client, potential client, and person who crosses my path. It also reminded me of a recent caller to Just Believe with Ilene Gottlieb, who had also been a victim of cyber-bullying. My heart broke for this poor woman as she explained that her reputation had been shredded, thanks to a liar with a keyboard and an internet connection (paraphrasing slightly). Since forewarned is forearmed, I’m reaping the benefits of others’ experience and encourage my readers to do the same.