Author of Book on Cyberbullying Talks About Online Shaming and Adult Actress August Ames

“It feels like an earthquake.”

A post shared by August Ames (@msmaplefever) on

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Adult film star August Ames, 23, committed suicide by hanging on December 5th. Many in the porn community pointed to a uniquely 21st century cause: Online bullying over comments she’d made about refusing to work with male actors who did crossover work between gay and straight films.

Ames had a history of depression, so some might think it a stretch to lay the blame for her death entirely on internet mobs slamming her as a homophobe. 

Author Jon Ronson, who wrote a book about cyberbullying titled So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, issued a tweet storm about Ames’s death that illustrated just how brutal an internet dogpile can be to the person at the bottom of the pile.

Ronson’s book was extremely sympathetic to people he interviewed, who’d all been subject to some kind of internet bodyslam, showered with insults, threats, and other forms of harassment. 

Ironically, that led to attacks on him as well.

Another Twitter user told Ronson that people were “still gloating” about Ames’s death. Later he tweeted this powerful observation.

Ames’s friends and family continue to mourn her online. Perhaps the most poignant statement came from her brother James Grabowski, who told the Sun he wants his “sister’s death to be recognized as a serious issue–bullying is not OK…It cost me my baby sister’s life.”

“I will do what I can be a voice for Mercedes,” Grabowski said, “but right now my family and I need to be left alone to grieve–we have lost a loved one.”