In 2003, Alexandrea Merrell was married with three young children and a successful career as a NYC marketing executive. Overnight her life changed when an anonymous “kill blog” sprung up, detailing her daily activities, including photos of her and her family, and a call to anyone reading the blog to kill her.
Over the next 14 years, anonymous blogs and posts, some including her likeness photoshopped into pornography, mug shots, and news articles as well as genuine private information and fake credit reports, medical reports, and criminal records were posted online and then sent via email to anyone in her community with an easy to find email address; doctors, schools, banks, real estate agents, etc.
The police provided little assistance and social media and internet service providers vacillated from disinterest to obstructionist. She spent tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers in order to find the culprit and remove thousands of posts, pictures, threats, and blogs. But as quickly as harassing and defaming content was removed, it was replaced with new content and searches for the stalker were all met with dead ends.
For many years, Alex followed the advice of lawyers and law enforcement, constantly moving, home-schooling children, trying to stay off-line and hidden. She used the “down time” to return to school, earning first a Master’s Degree and then attending law school. In 2009, she launched Orndee a crisis management and public relations firm focused on helping professionals, celebrities, and businesses suffering similar reputation, online harassment, and sabotage issues.
In 2017, after legal action in Iceland succeeded in the removal of a website targeting her, the attacks abruptly stopped. She still has no idea who has been behind the 14-year long terror campaign, why it started, or why it stopped.
Alex joined the board of the HONR Network to provide public relations and media guidance to the organization, to help empower victims of online harassment, and to provide educational programs designed to help people better understand their rights and responsibilities online.
Currently Alex is creating educational series for corporations, schools, and law enforcement to help them understand cyber aggression and provide more effective support to victims.
Stop Online Harassment.org is a non-profit that creates educational content for children and adult internet users, professionals, and authorities, focusing on online safety and battling cyber-aggression.
Stand Up To Stalking, Bullying, Harassment & Hate is available XXX