Alicia Ann Lynch, a 22-year-old from Michigan, tweeted and Instagrammed a photo of herself at work dressed as a Boston Marathon bombing victim for Halloween.
It didn't take users long to discover that Lynch had once posted a photo of her driver's license, and they used the information to attack her. (Lynch's personal information has been blurred out by BuzzFeed.)
The internet rage spun out of control as Twitter users took out their anger at Lynch by contacting her family. They also circulated nude pictures and videos of her found on Tumblr.
Lynch deleted all of her social media accounts, and later reopened her Twitter account to attempt to be forgiven for her costume.
Commenters on a Barstool Sports article about Lynch began to track down all of her information, including her employer and what they thought was her dad's company.
Boston Marathon victim Sydney Corcoran, who was severely injured along with her mother, Celeste, also tweeted in anger at Lynch.
Though the internet anger continued into November, some tried to end the incessant attacks on Lynch, tweeting that they had forgiven her.
Update - Nov. 3, 12:50 p.m., ET: Lynch reached out to BuzzFeed by email to express her regret at her costume choice. She also chastised those who wished harm on her, saying she would never wish what happened to her on someone else.
It seems as though my outfit was too soon, and will always be that way, it was wrong of me and very distasteful. My costume was not meant to disrespect anyone, ever. I am truly sorry to anyone that I may have offended or hurt with this. I know my apology doesn't ever fix anything that has been done, but at least know that I am being sincere.
I can't undo my actions or make up for them, but my apology is a start.
I myself have been through tragic events, I just handle mine differently because that is how I was taught to. I realize I was in the wrong with this and again, I am truly sorry.
I wore a costume to work, with people that know me, and wouldn't get offended by it. I had even ran the idea by a friend whom had his father in the marathon and he didn't have an issue with it.
What I did may have been wrong, but is it truly right to wish harm upon someone and say that you're doing it for the victims? As being a part of a tragic event I never would ever wish what had happened to me upon someone else, as I can say most people wouldn't wish death upon someone to 'make it right'.
Lynch also claims she didn't post the apology tweets under her username @someSKANKinMI.
"I had apologized a few hours after posting and the apology went to deaf ears and blind eyes, so I had deleted all my social accounts. It seems someone is trying to look out for me and help me make things better, which I also greatly appreciate," she said.
Update - Nov. 3, 4:15 p.m., ET: BuzzFeed spoke to Lynch by phone from her home in Michigan, where she confirmed she had been fired and has been receiving death threats.
"I've had voicemails where they want to slit my throat and they want to hang me and tear off my face," she said. "I'm just like, I don't even know how to respond to this right now."
The 22-year-old added that strangers also reached out to her parents and told her best friend "they're going to blow up her house and hang her child."
"I'm like, how is that even right? She didn't know what I was doing. My family didn't know what I was doing. I don't live with them. And they're all getting dragged into this for something I did."
Though Lynch seems able to let most of the threats slide down her back, some in particular affect her — namely, the ones having to do with rape, an experience she tearfully described undergoing last Thanksgiving.
"When people bring up the rape stuff it kind of hits a spot, but I don't show it. I'm over it, but it's something that I would never, ever wish upon someone no matter what they had done. They can dress however they want."
Despite the backlash, Lynch said she never second-guessed her marathon costume and said multiple people she brought it up to found the idea funny. She claimed she had seen other people on Twitter dressed as Boston Marathon victims, and blamed the uproar around her costume, rather than around others', on the fact that she is a woman.
"Honestly, it's the Day of the Dead," she says. "I wasn't a dead person, I wasn't being disrespectful. I was a survivor of a marathon. And it's not like I was walking around with a fake leg or my arm torn off or something like that."
She added that although she lost her job — which she declined to describe — she sees it as a push to do something new, and isn't concerned about future employers googling her. Asked if she thinks she'll be able to secure another job, she replied, "Yeah, I don't think I'll have an issue with that."
"It doesn't really bother me," she said about the idea of others searching for her on the internet. "I have nothing to hide. It happened, I made a mistake. I just have to learn from it. I'm not a terrible person."
Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Zarrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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