Seth Maxwell, the charismatic 24 year old founder and director of the Thirst Project did not know what to make of it. The savage tweets were rolling in at a rate of 20 per minute occluding all other activity on their twitter feed. Charming sentiments like: "@ThirstProject LMFAO No one likes you!" and "@ThirstProject You are retarded f*** you Dreke" or the truly unthinkable "@DrakeBell @ThirstProject Who wants to help those jungle bunnies anyway?"
Who would launch a hate campaign against an organization that provides clean safe drinking water to impoverished people in places like Swaziland? What's to hate and who would hate it?
Founded by a group of college students, Thirst Project is led by and supported by young people and students. When he is not digging wells in far-away lands, Seth visits dozens of high-schools every year to educate students about the global water crisis and engage them in the solution. To date he has visited over 300 schools in the U.S. and thus inspired, the kids have raised 2.6 million dollars and provided water to over 100,000 people. The kids raise money by holding dances and ping pong tournaments and bake sales, they are loyal to the cause, inventive and determined. Many schools now put on an annual event and are donating truly impressive amounts of money while teaching the students that their efforts can make a difference in the world. Seth has recruited a separate board of directors who fund his administration costs so that he can assure his teen donors that 100 percent of their money will go directly to building wells.
Hmmmm. Not the sort of activity that normally fills one with hate. Mostly in fact folks think it is extraordinary work and a great program... so how to explain this twitter bombing?
It began with the launch of a Twitter raffle campaign to raise money to build more wells in Africa. Seth's goal is to provide every single person in Swaziland with access to water. The winner of the raffle will receive an all expense paid trip to Hollywood to attend the annual Thirst project fundraiser and meet their celebrity supporters. One of these is Drake Bell whom Seth recruited to be the 'face' of the campaign. Drake is the star of Nickelodeon's "Drake and Josh" which has a large following of young folks and he has over a million twitter followers. Drake loves the Thirst Project and was happy to pitch in , seemingly a perfect fit and yet here is where the worm turns. Apparently Drake horrified "Beliebers", (yes that is what these rabid Justin Bieber fans are called) last July by suggesting that perhaps the age of 18 was a tad young to be touting a bio-pic called " Never Say Never The Justin Bieber Story." At the risk of igniting their ire I am going to have to agree with Mr. Bell's take on this. If you cannot order a glass of wine or enter the armed services, I do not want to hear the story of your life. You have in fact not lived it yet. The "Beliebers" of course most emphatically did not agree. The young monster fans were outraged! They assaulted Bell for weeks, relentlessly tweeting nasty ugly sentiments. The so-called "feud" was covered here on The Huffington Post.
The ruckus eventually died down and the little girls became otherwise occupied, leading Drake to falsely assume that the storm had passed.
Enter the Thirst Project whom Drake was hoping to help, but in so doing has managed to re-awaken this sleeping giant of adolescent rage. These tween mean girls have been hurling ugly tweets at the Thirst Project at a relentless pace for over ten days As of this writing the pleas to Bieber's management to please explain to his fans that they are doing real harm to real do-gooders, have gone unanswered. The Beliebers rage on unchecked. Forgive my but I have to say this. It's downright unbielebable.
Here is what Seth has to say:
The thing that makes my heart sad about all of this, is that Justin can take care of himself, but these kids in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia can't. If Justin Bieber's fans put as much energy into helping us end the water crisis or something positive, we could do something incredible. Instead, they looked at something good and beautiful and pure and tried to tear it down in the name of one boy who they have decided is worth more than the lives of the thousands of children in need.
I know Justin Bieber been supportive of numerous charities in the past (some of which even include clean water initiatives), so I cannot allow myself to believe that the actions of his fan base are representative of his character, but I do wish he would help stop this and make it right. It's been 10 days since the Campaign launched, and the tweets have finally almost stopped completely, but the damage was done. For days our charity's twitter was hijacked and anyone who searched for us was met with gross language that I can only imagine what impression it left them with.
Justin Bieber, I know you must be such a better person than this reflects. If you can hear me out there, then on behalf of the nearly 1 billion people without clean water, and on behalf of the thousands of students who have given of themselves so generously to build our organization so far, I'm asking for your help.
I think that says it all. Mr. Bieber are you listening?