Tyem Wimbly brings no apologies about a controversial Columbia Facebook group that some describe as cyber-bullying. Wimbly believes it’s harmless locker-room talk.
Wimbly also brings no doubt about one of his internet hobbies. In an interview with WIS on Friday, his t-shirt featured was the first clue. It featured an internet meme called “trollface,” which KnowYourMeme.com defines as a comic character that represents the facial expression of an Internet troll.
Wimbly reached out to WIS to share his point of view, and in an effort to understand the group’s popularity, WIS obliged and asked Wimbly why he does it, why so many others do too, and what they get out of it.
“To make fun of people? Why do it just to make fun of people?” he said. “I mean, just laughter. Comedians do the same thing. They make jokes about rape and all this stuff, and people laugh and applaud them."
Wimbly's interview happened one day after WIS spoke with Susan Mishoe, a single mother who's pregnant with another child. She said she recently found out she was one of the group's main targets after someone she doesn’t know randomly sent her almost 90 screenshots of jarring comments.
"A little bit of me feels like this is just for attention,” Wimbly said of Mishoe. “She could have just, you know, got off the internet and turned it off, you know. I understand suicide and all that other things, but she could have just turned it off."
Mishoe showed WIS page after page of comments. Some bashed her appearance, described obscene sex acts, and ridiculed her pregnancy. Others encourage gruesome abortions.
"Did I make any comments about her? I'm trying to think. Probably so. I probably did. Probably nothing crazy,” Wimbly admitted.
In his defense of the group that's still a thousand members strong, Wimbly said the group’s behavior is not bullying and said they're empty words.
“What would your mother think of all this?” WIS asked him.
“All this?” he said. “She probably don't want to talk to me right now. Like, she probably not happy."
And what if the shoe was on the other foot for Wimbly? What if his mother, sister, family member, or significant other was the target of those comments?
"I'd probably feel a little bit disrespected, but I'd be like, 'Fine! I'm just going to go ahead and talk crap back!' Because, in the end, it's words,” he said.
While the group's membership is down from Thursday, a quick search still shows members from all over the area and beyond.
Based on Facebook, WIS saw one member whose profile says he's a manager at Bank of America, others seem to be in the military, and many others appear to be cooks, waiters, or chefs at prominent Columbia restaurants.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department is looking into the controversial page.