So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

by

Jon Ronson

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Adria Richards Character Analysis

Adria Richards is a woman who was publicly shamed after she attempted to publicly shame someone herself at a tech conference in 2013. When Richards noticed a pair of men sitting behind her at a presentation making suggestive puns about tech lingo, she took a picture of the men and posted it to her Twitter, complaining to her followers about the things that women in tech (especially women of color and women who belong to religious minorities like Richards) were forced to put up with. The internet turned against the man, Hank, and his friend—but once they lost their jobs, the tides turned, and darker corners of the web turned against Richards. Men’s rights activists called for her to be raped and killed, and Richards herself ended up losing her job over the fracas. Jon Ronson relays Richards’s story to illustrate the heavily gendered nature of online shamings; men and women are punished differently by internet mobs for their perceived transgressions.

Adria Richards Quotes in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed quotes below are all either spoken by Adria Richards or refer to Adria Richards. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed published in 2016.
Chapter 6 Quotes

It seemed to me that all the people involved in the Hank and Adria story thought they were doing something good. But they only revealed that our imagination is so limited, our arsenal of potential responses so narrow that the only thing anyone can think to do with an inappropriate shamer like Adria is to punish her with a shaming. All of the shamers had themselves come from a place of shame, and it really felt parochial and self-defeating to instinctively slap shame onto shame like a clumsy builder covering cracks.

Related Characters: Jon Ronson (speaker), Hank, Adria Richards
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
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Adria Richards Character Timeline in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The timeline below shows where the character Adria Richards appears in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Doing Something Good
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
...it out of his mind. The next day, the tweeter—a Black Jewish woman named Adria Richards—published a blog post detailing how, in the presence of a large crowd, the men felt... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
...Hank posted a short apology online. He said that while he was sorry for making Richards uncomfortable, her posts had cost him his job—and now, he had to find a new... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
Ronson reached out to Richards for an interview, and she reluctantly agreed to meet with him. She told him that... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
...from men’s-rights bloggers who also leveled horrible threats of rape, violence, and murder against Adria Richards. Online trolls crashed her company’s website and servers, calling for her firing. Hours later, she... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
Before meeting with Richards, Ronson posted a message on the website where the vitriol toward her had spun out... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
While Hank told Ronson that he felt nobody deserved to go through what Adria Richards went through, Richards told Ronson that she believed Hank’s complaint about losing his job was... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Everyone in the Hank and Adria Richards story, Ronson realized, thought they were doing something good. But in today’s world, shaming is... (full context)