Bridgewater Woman’s Facebook Post About ‘Jersey Shore’ Star Goes Viral
Kate Ryan created a Facebook firestorm with comments about “Pauly D” of Jersey Shore. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
She’s a Jersey girl by birth and remains one at heart, so when Kate Ryan of Bridgewater saw side-by-side photos of the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J. — one showing a pleasant summer scene, the other the shattered boardwalk in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy — she approached someone in a position to help out.
During her lunch break Tuesday at State Street School in Windsor, where she teaches math, Ryan logged onto Facebook and posted a short but direct message on the wall of Paul DelVecchio, aka DJ Pauly D, one of the stars of Jersey Shore, the controversial MTV reality series about the drunken summertime exploits of 20-somethings who share a Seaside Heights summer house.
“Hope you and your cast mates and MTV are planning on opening your wallets to the boardwalk that made you rich and famous. Seaside has been destroyed,” Ryan wrote.
By Thursday, nearly 100,000 people had clicked “like” on Ryan’s post.
More vocal, though, were die-hard fans of Jersey Shore and those who disagreed. Ryan’s post garnered some 3,000 comments, and many of them took aim at Ryan herself.
“My boy Pauly D doesn’t owe anybody (expletive)!” wrote one Facebook user.
“u leave pauly d alone! would u pay for mother nature??? shut up (expletive)!” said another.
“who the (expletive) are you to say what they should do with THEIR money! you act like you earned it for them!! its none of your (expletive) business how they made it!” Others went after Ryan for being from Vermont, though she lived in New Jersey for the first 30 years of her life. Ryan eventually had to remove the Facebook app from her iPad, because the frequency of her notification alert “sounded like a lottery machine going off,” she said.
And she removed a picture of her son from her page, for fear that other users would download it.
“The hardest part was not responding to everybody. You do get mad when people are personally attacking you. You have to think, I don’t know these people, they don’t know me, and I started this whole thing,” she said.
In the age of social media, where users often Tweet first and think second, heated responses like those Ryan has received are not uncommon.
The advent of social media has increased the amount of access people have to celebrities; by following a star on Twitter or liking their Facebook page, people can keep regular tabs on celebrities’ lives. Kirk Cassels, a multimedia specialist at Dartmouth College, thinks this has intensified people’s feelings toward stars, whether they hate them or love them.
“They bond over attacking anyone who attacks the person who they look up to so much,” Cassels said. “I think it’s that connectivity, so that whenever someone says, I think this song stinks, they take it personally.” Following events like 9/11 and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, celebrities have stepped up in lending their names, and their dollars, to fundraising efforts. The American Red Cross has a “Celebrity Cabinet” of stars like country singer Reba McEntire, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth and Weather Channel meteorologist (and Hartford High School graduate) Jim Cantore, whom the organization uses for disaster response fundraising.
It remains to be seen whether the Jersey Shore cast will do the same — or whether relief organizations will want the help of stars better known for sullying the image of the New Jersey coastline than for their philanthropy.
“The response to Sandy is very large and very costly and the American Red Cross needs the help of the American public,” said Karen Stecher, a communications officer with the Red Cross in Peoria, Ill. “We appreciate the support we have received from many celebrities and we are working hard to get help where it is needed.” Ryan thinks Jersey Shore’s stars have much to gain if they do contribute money to help rebuild the shore.
“It would be a genius move on their part,” Ryan said. “They would extend their 15 minutes of fame, and they don’t have the best reputations, and I think it would give them a chance to show people that they care.” Though no specific fundraising plans from the cast have been unveiled, the pleas from Ryan and others may not have fallen on deaf ears. The show’s stars, including Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “Jwoww” Farley, took to their Twitter accounts to ask fans to donate money to the Red Cross. And according to a “show insider” quoted in an article published in The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., MTV executives are discussing a possible Jersey Shore special, with the cast taking part in hurricane relief efforts.
Katie Beth Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3242.