Emily, 15, became known as “shovel girl” after a video went viral of her and another teen having a fist fight, until Emily grabbed a shovel and threw it at the other girl’s head. What has life been like for Emily since hundreds of thousands of people watched her throw that shovel?
Emily claims that she’s had more than 2,000 death threats since the video went viral. But she says she wants people to know that she’s not the bully; she’s the victim. “A lot of people were making fun of me on Twitter, calling me names,” the teen tells Dr. Phil. “People threatened to hit me with cars. They said I should get hit by a shovel, because it wasn’t fair to her.” Emily adds that she was nervous to go out in public because of all the hate she had received online. “I can’t talk to anybody about anything, because they say, ‘Are you going to get the shovel?’ Social media has made my life a lot worse,” she says.
Dr. Phil asks Emily why she and the other girl had a fight.
Emily says that they planned the fight via messages to one another on Facebook. “We were just arguing back and forth and eventually, she told me to kill myself,” she claims in the video above.
On the day of the fight, Emily claims the other girl showed up at her house with some of their other friends. “We fought. Then I told her to leave. She said she wasn’t leaving, and I said, ‘I’m just going to shoot you with a BB gun’… I wasn’t really going to shoot her,” Emily says. “She came up behind me. I could see the shovel, and I just picked it up and hit her with it.” The shovel hit the other girl in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground.
Dr. Phil asks Emily’s mom, “You say you’re kind of proud of her because why?”
“I was proud of her because she took up for herself. I wasn’t exactly proud that she used a shovel, but it did get the girl to leave,” she says. “Emily did not want to fight. Emily’s not a fighter.”
Dr. Phil says to Emily, “I noticed when you did hit her with the shovel, she was retreating. She was moving away. So it seems like she was moving away from you, and you weren’t in immediate threat. You had to run after her and throw the shovel to hit her in the back of the head. Why did you hit her with the shovel?”
“I wasn’t really thinking. After everything that happened, my mind went blank,” she says.
“She could have been killed,” Dr. Phil says.
Dr. Phil has a message for bystanders, like the person who filmed Emily’s fight and posted it online. “I think bystanders who do nothing to protect the victims are as guilty as bullies who do the bullying,” he says. “As bystanders, we all have duties and responsibilities, and I would hope that as her mother, you would counsel her about what to do in that kind of situation.”
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