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After a two-year hiatus, the controversial YouTube news program returned to shed light on the Canadian teen’s tragic suicide.
Remember Amanda Todd?
She’s the 15-year-old Canadian girl who committed suicide in October after years of online harassment. Major media chalked up her death to run-of-the-mill cyberbullying. But the real story was for more complex and disturbing: Todd was the victim of a small gang of pedophiles (“cappers”) who revelled in coercing kids into stripping on camera and recording them. A few of their nastier cohorts would then use those videos to blackmail teens into performing more explicit acts.
Todd was one of those victims.
Now a group says they have more info on Todd’s alleged tormenter. And it flies in the face of official statements from Canadian police.
In December 2010, Todd briefly flashed the camera in a chatroom. Somebody was recording her and knew her identity. He demanded that she show more. She refused to give in, so the blackmailer made good on his threats. He sent the video to Todd’s friends and family, precipitating the long ordeal of Todd’s harassment and depression that would end when she finally took her own life on Oct. 10.
In October, hacker group Anonymous identified Dakota “Kody” Maxson as the likely perpetrator. They backed their claims with a dossier of evidence, including screengrabs from Maxson’s postings on “jailbait” Web forums. Some of that information turned out to be wrong, but the group certainly seemed on the right track: After the accusations came to light, Maxson admitted to knowing Todd but pinned the crime on another capper who went by the screen name “Viper.”
Days later, the Canadian Mounted Police announced that Maxson was innocent and a “person of no interest” in the case.
But how can that be? Around the time Todd was targeted, many in the capping community—and their female victims—had already labelled Maxson as an inveterate blackmailer, whose modus operandi seemed to match step-by-step with the events in the Todd case.
The community’s accusations were recorded for posterity on a Web series called The Daily Capper, which ran from 2009 to 2011.
No one knows the capping community like The Daily Capper. It was their Nightly News. And the show’s producers have a message for Canadian police: You’re wrong.
On Friday, The Daily Capper posted its first new video in nearly two years. It’s loaded with a bevy of new circumstantial evidence. It might not be the silver bullet, but the evidence certainly doesn’t help Maxson’s case, either.
For a rundown of the group’s dossier of evidence, check out Cooper Fleishman’s excellent piece at HyperVocal. But the key evidence boils down to this:
On Dec. 23, 2010, an anonymous YouTuber passed along Maxson’s personal information to The Daily Capper, hoping they would expose him as a blackmailer. The anonymous source said he or she received the information from Amanda Todd. About two weeks later, Todd messaged The Daily Capper to confirm that she was being blackmailed. In other words, an anonymous YouTuber claimed Todd identified Maxson as her blackmailer two years ago.
Maxson, meanwhile, was a notorious blackmailer who’d gathered a toxic reputation even among the the capping community, a group that already operated far outside anything resembling typical moral bounds.
If Maxson knew a girl online, he was likely targeting her for blackmail, according to The Daily Capper. “It could just be a coincidence that [Maxson] openly blackmailed every other girl before and after Amanda,” the announcer notes sarcastically.
Maxson and other blackmailers knew one another and boasted about their conquests in online chat rooms. Even if Maxson didn’t blackmail Todd, he likely knew who did—as it was happening.
- “Viper,” who Maxson pinned for the crime of blackmailing Todd, was apparently one of his old friends. According to The Daily Capper:
“Viper and Kody worked alongside each other in groups, they trawled rooms together and even shared videos with each other. They continued working with each other till mid-2011. Kody was directly involved with Amanda in December, while he and Viper were still friends who shared videos with each other. Even if what Kody said were true, that would mean he knew Viper was blackmailing her the whole time and he did nothing to stop him because they shared videos with each other for long after. If Viper is the culprit, Kody was likely still involved and assisting him. That’s assuming what Kody says is true.”
We still don’t know who’s behind The Daily Capper broadcasts, nor their motivations in exposing Maxson. The cappers themselves—whether they looked down on blackmailing or not—created a culture of exploitation that fed off the sexual exploitation of minors. Indeed, the moral line between blackmailing and sharing pornographic images of a minor is thin at best. The capping community was criminal to its core; Maxson was no outlier.
But The Daily Capper does raise a point that simply can’t be ignored: How can Maxson possibly be a person “no interest” in the blackmailing of Amanda Todd?
Photo via TheDailyCapperNews/YouTube
Kevin Morris is a veteran web reporter and editor who specializes in longform journalism. He led the Daily Dot’s esports vertical and, following its acquisition by GAMURS in late 2016, launched Dot Esports, where he serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.