March 27, 2011

Gene Leonhardt, Father Of YouTube Micro-celeb, Jessi Slaughter - Jailed On Child Abuse Charges

Gene Leonhardt Jail Booking Report

Marion County, Florida (The Weekly Vice) - Gene Leonhardt, the 53-year-old father of "Jessi Slaughter" a controversial 12-year-old girl that became the victim of an Internet-wide hate campaign last summer, has been jailed after he allegedly slugged his micro-celebrity daughter in the mouth.

According to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, deputies were dispatched after the girl knocked on a neighbor's door with a bloody lip and stated that her father "had hit her in the mouth and busted her lip."

Deputies interviewed the girl, who stated she and her father had been arguing when her father struck her in the mouth. The deputy examined the child's mouth and found injuries that seemed to collaborate the girl's story.

Deputies also interviewed Leonhardt who told them that he slapped the girl after she punched him in the mouth. He went on to tell deputies that his daughter was using theatrical blood and wasn't really bleeding.

A witness who was walking her dog in the area told deputies that she heard adults arguing and screaming inside the house before the girl ran out to her with a bleeding lip and swollen face.

"Jessi Slaughter" (not her real name) emerged on YouTube in 2009 as a mouthy, 11-year-old girl who told viewers through her regular video submissions that she was prettier, had more friends, and lived a wilder life than they did. Her posts were frequently marinated in profanity and sexual bravado - leading many to wonder who her asleep-at-the-wheel parents were.

Slaughter managed to attract the attention of national media who interviewed her about her antics and the bullying that followed.

Her videos eventually drew the attention of and Tumblr users who ramped up a hate campaign against her that included posting her personal information online. A wave of online bullying, pranks and promised retribution brought the drama to a fever pitch in July, 2009.

Hundreds of blogs and YouTube response videos analyzed the drama, weighing the virtues of bullying an 11-year-old child, even if she seemed to provoke it.

Slaughter's online celebrity went into hyper drive when she posted a video of herself sobbing, as her father ranted in the background - threatening to report the bullies "to the cyber-police." Several memes about the videos circulated around Internet channels for months afterward - even after Slaughter deleted her account and exited the YouTube stage.

Leonhardt was jailed and charged with child abuse. He pleaded 'not guilty' to the charge at an arraignment hearing on Tuesday. His bond has been set at $5,000.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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