COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) — A Georgia photographer says she is being cyber bullied by hundreds of people after an Instagram user targeted her because of a picture she took of two friends.
Breana Marrero-Welch owns Easy Breezy Photography in Columbia County.
“If I didn’t have the support system that I have right now, I would have done something to myself,” Marrero-Welch says.
Marrero-Welch usually spends most of her free time taking pictures for her growing photography business, but this past week, she’s spent most of her time dealing with bullies on social media.
“I’ve been called fat. I’ve been called a whale. I’ve been compared to the Michelin Man,” Marrero-Welch says.
The 20-year-old has received hundreds, maybe thousands, of mean messages from people this week.
It all started when the Instagram user, The.Real.John.Sema.2, posted one of Marrero-Welch’s photos to make fun of the people in it.
Marrero-Welch says she asked the user to take the photo down because it’s copyrighted.
“If you see someone in person and you tell them they look fat, you don’t even know if they spent 10 minutes trying to make themselves throw up in the bathroom…”
“He took a screenshot of me asking him to remove the photo and then he posted it and then he went to my personal Facebook and posted that on his Instagram as well. Then it escalated even more when I was told I should be killed and it escalated again when my address was posted in the comments,” Marrero-Welch says.
Marerro-Welch has been living her life in fear this week because of the cyber bullying.
“I’m hurt because I’ve dealt with bullying since I was a kid and I thought I left all that behind in high school. I’m an adult,” Marrero-Welch says.
But the mean-spirited messages have been getting worse because The.Real.John.Sema.2 has more than 60,000 followers.
“He said, I ‘look like the type of girl that was touched by her uncle at a barbecue when she was younger and ate her feelings while growing up,’” Marrero-Welch says.
The internet bullies have now started targeting her photography business.
“I was at a 4.8 out of 5 stars on my Facebook Page and within 15 minutes of him sending his followers, it went down to a 1.9,” Marrero-Welch says.
Marrero-Welch’s Facebook Page received nearly 200 negative reviews.
“Terrible service during the photo shoot, but I was especially upset when I received photos and they were covered in pizza sauce and ranch,” Marrero-Welch reads one such comment.
The Columbia County woman is thankful for the overwhelming support from the community.
Now, she’s sharing her story to be a voice for the victims out there who are too afraid to speak up.
“You never know what somebody is going through. If you see someone in person and you tell them they look fat, you don’t even know if they spent 10 minutes trying to make themselves throw up in the bathroom,” Marrero-Welch says.
Marrero-Welch says she as called police and attorneys about the cyber bullying, but she says they’ve told her there’s nothing they can do.