The New York Times ran a story on December 26 that focuses on how a three-second Snapchat video in 2016 featuring a Virginia high school freshman named Mimi Groves saying “I can drive ni–ers” was saved by a classmate and later weaponized. The story is a runaway hit on social media. People are picking sides and deciding whether they’re Team Mimi or Team Jimmy Galligan, the classmate who weaponized the video when it could cause maximum damage to the high school cheerleader captain.
Here’s the timeline to this story:
• In 2016, 15-year-old Groves gets her license and fires up Snapchat. She rattles off “I can drive ni–ers” and hits send
• The video circulates around the Loudoun County school district with typical Snapchat attention, but that’s the end of it. People go on with their lives
• Ms. Groves completes her freshman, sophomore, and junior years without the video causing problems
• Groves enters her senior year, things are going well. She’s the varsity cheer captain and headed to the University of Tennessee to join the Vols cheerleading team
• At some point during the 2019-20 school year, Galligan receives the video and he decides to keep it in his pocket
'I taught her a lesson'
Black high school student gets white classmate, Mimi Groves
Kicked off varsity cheerleading team and the University of Tennessee
After sharing a video of her saying 'I can drive, n*****s'
She sent to a friend, stuck in traffic
When she was 15~ pic.twitter.com/OjxgHeesUb
— 🇭ip~ (@TruthInBytes) December 27, 2020
• In June 2020, as the George Floyd news breaks, Groves takes to Instagram and urges “people to ‘protest, donate, sign a petition, rally, do something’ in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” according to the New York Times.
• “You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word,” someone writes on her post
• Galligan deploys the 2016 video of Groves
You lived through 2020, so you can guess what happened next. That’s right, a firestorm. The video circulated. Social media mobs attacked. TV stations ran stories. When the dust had settled, the target had been destroyed.
Tennessee told Groves she wouldn’t be welcomed at the school.
Galligan, happy with the results, told the Times he had zero regrets. “If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened,” he said. And because the internet never forgets, the clip will always be available to watch.
“I’m going to remind myself, ‘You started something. You taught someone a lesson.’”
And there it is, the real reason Galligan deployed that video to take out his target. Satisfaction. Payback. Retribution 2020. The Times says the two were friendly early on in their high school careers, but there’s no mention of bad blood here.
This feels like Galligan was filling his role as a Social Justice Warrior soldier who saw a target and struck. Groves just happened to be in the way. Is it a scumbag move? Of course. Should we be shocked that a video would be held back and launched at a later point? Not in the least.
Should the University of Tennessee feel like idiots for falling prey to mob justice? Absolutely. Instead of standing up and saying the prospective student had made a mistake as a 15-year-old, the school let mob justice dictate the rules.
Is Mimi’s life over because she had to enroll online at a community college during the fall of COVID 2020? It’s damaged because there’s an Internet history left behind, but she should be OK.
Does Galligan get through this unscathed? No. He’s in the same boat as Mimi. That Times story will sit on Google for decades.
What did we learn here? You better sit down at those kitchen tables and have conversations with your kids. You better make it clear that social media videos can come back to haunt them, and you better make it clear there are people like Galligan waiting to launch attacks.
Anytime the university receives a report, it is reviewed. Any reports relating to current students will go through existing bias reporting processes. We review and address issues as they come up with the individuals involved. (4/4)
— UT Knoxville (@UTKnoxville) June 4, 2020