, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 3, 2014

'Mama Bear' takes up fight against social media comments


“I am sorry I hurt this kid’s feelings,” said Portnoy. “It’s harmless fun, at least that’s what we thought we were having. It didn’t turn out that way. I feel terrible. Who wants to make someone feel that way? That’s not what we try to do. It was an innocent mistake that was rectified immediately.”

But what Portnoy couldn’t take back were the comments Mitchell had seen written by anonymous readers in the blog’s comment section before they were taken down.

“We are more upset with the comments that were coming in from viewers,” said Mitchell. “You can only imagine the comments that were coming in. We are going to take a stand. Enough is enough. When is there a line drawn where the social media needs to take responsibility for its actions?”

They first reached out to The Daily News, which published a story on Thursday describing the Mitchells’ outrage over the posts and Portnoy’s response. Portnoy had not yet apologized to the Mitchells when they contacted the News.

Portnoy quickly came under fire from numerous people who criticized him for allowing the photo to be posted. He in turn reposted the photo and wrote a lengthy response, criticizing The Daily News and defending his website.

The Mitchells turned to friends and supporters to carry their message on regarding social media, asking them to contact a wide range of media to bring the issue to the public’s attention. On Friday, a Boston news station picked up the story and came to Sean’s alma mater, Triton Regional High School.

“What if that was your son or daughter? How would you feel?” Mitchell asked the TV crew. “Words hurt. Words kill. There is a line. I’m not just talking about Barstool Sports. I’m talking about social media.”

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