Netflix's Most Hated Man On The Internet: How we caught Hunter Moore

It was meant to be another normal day in Californian suburbia for Charlotte Laws until she received a call from her daughter, Kayla. 

‘She was absolutely distraught,’ Charlotte recalls from that fateful phone call in October 2011. ‘I could hear just how much pain she was in.’ 

Kayla had tearfully rang her mum in distress after being informed that intimate photos that she had taken in the privacy of her bedroom had been leaked on IsAnyoneUp.com alongside her name and all social media profiles. 

When speaking to her mother, Kayla insisted she had never shared those photos with anybody and yet there they were, with all her personal information, sat on this hate-fuelled forum where people were encouraged to pour bile over those pictured by the website’s creator, Hunter Moore. 

‘I knew I had to get that picture down,’ Charlotte tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Something like that can ruin someone’s life. That can go on a hundred different websites in a really short period of time. My daughter was getting so upset, she didn’t have the ability to fight this herself. 

‘Someone else had to fight for victims. It was going to be me to face down Hunter Moore.’ 

IsAnyoneUp.com emerged from the primordial ooze of the primitive days of social media in 2011, with 20-something party prowler Hunter Moore having initially bought the domain for club promotion. When he was struggling to share nudes of someone he was sleeping with to some of his cronies, he used the website to post the photos, and eventually, others started sharing nudes they’d acquired from other people without their consent and often with malicious intent. 

It was only after Moore shared snaps of lead singers from bands popular with scene kids – a subculture which fused the rainbows and raves of happy hardcore with the music and f***-you attitude of emo and punk – that saw IsAnyoneUp.com achieve a cult status amongst factions of the web. Now, everyone is going to be made aware of Moore, and the website’s grimy history in Netflix’s new documentary, The Most Hated Man On The Internet. 

But it wasn’t just the explicit material that kept the website’s 350,000 unique daily visitors clicking on it. It was Hunter Moore that was the driving force behind the website’s popularity; pedalling his revenge porn to the masses, Moore didn’t shy away from his ethically abhorrent behaviour – he was proud of it, encouraging fans to pile on the people (mostly women) in the website’s comment section, claiming he started the site because ‘some b***h broke his heart’.

He launched irreverent hashtags over the content of certain naked photos he received, such as #NBHNC (short for ‘no butthole, no care’) that quickly gained traction on Twitter.

Moore even bragged about the amount of hate he received, with requests to take photos down being posted on the ‘Daily Hate’ section of IsAnyoneUp.com. He claimed IsAnyoneUp was protected by the same laws as Facebook, which meant he was under no obligation to remove any content from his site. He often replied to cease and desist letters with ‘LOL.’ In another instance, Moore responded to one request about removing photos with a picture of his own penis. 

‘It’s 2012, it’s only a matter of time that someone monetised this, and I was the first one to do it,’ Moore said nonchalantly during a TV interview. 

Charlotte saw how little Moore really cared about the emotional distress he was inflicting on people when she contacted him to see if he could remove Kayla’s pictures. After brusque messages were exchanged, Moore merely stopped responding to Charlotte. 

‘The website was just disgusting, it was full of despicable content,’ Charlotte says. ‘It was a space for haters, trolls and misogynists to torment women, and they were contacting and sending these nudes over to whoever they could. This website was about driving people to suicide.’ 

While Charlotte was revolted, Moore’s demeanour earned him thousands of bizarrely obsessed fans that referred to themselves as ‘The Family’, a la Charles Manson. Moore was referred to as ‘The Father’, with fans desperate to be ingratiated in Moore’s inner circle. One girl brushed her teeth in her own urine and faeces to get his attention. Another devotee wrote: ‘If you had AIDS, I’d still f**k you just to say I have AIDS and that I got AIDS from you.’ 

Moore knew he had this unique and coveted power: in a webcam chat which he recorded and posted on a porn site, he insisted one girl put a mobile phone, alongside numerous other objects, in her anus – which she obliged. 

There’s a plethora of motives for why Moore did what he did, explains Clare McGlynn, a Professor of Law at Durham University who specialises in image-based abuse. 

‘Moore shared those images to create a bond,’ she explains to Metro.co.uk. ‘This was less about “revenge” but to boost their status amongst a group of men, and for Moore to raise his masculinity. He used his notoriety as an important aspect of his abuse.’ 

Moore’s internet infamy saw his antics covered in the media, seeing him land somewhat fawning interviews with high-profile magazines such as Rolling Stone and Vice, which had more than just a touch of admiration for his outlandish behaviour. Still on the party scene, Moore regularly shared photos of drugs, DJ sets and women, with one interviewer recalling hearing Moore getting one groupie to snort a line of cocaine off his penis.  

Television interviews soon followed, with an appearance on the Anderson Cooper show, in which he was confronted by two victims who had been leaked on his site, bringing further notoriety. Moore’s abrasive, internet-forged persona may not have been well-received by viewers watching at home, but the show saw IsAnyoneUp.com go mainstream. Moore was now receiving thousands of submissions a day: teachers, nurses, elderly women – even a paraplegic’s nudes were leaked on the site, all with their contact details attached. 

Charlotte soon learned that the police had no interest in helping her remove Kayla’s pictures from IsAnyoneUp.com. Five years before the dawn of the #MeToo movement, victim blaming was rife, and in this Wild West era of the internet where seemingly anything goes, legislation was limited. 

While revenge porn was not illegal at that time, hacking was, and as Kayla was adamant she had not shared her intimate photo with anyone, Charlotte insisted they went to the police about what was happening. 

It felt like I was running a suicide hotline.

‘The female, middle-aged police detective victim-blamed, and that really didn’t help Kayla, who was blaming herself so much already,’ Charlotte recalls. ‘I told detectives that if Kayla had taken a polaroid and put it in a dresser drawer and somebody broke in and stole the picture, would you have told Kayla she shouldn’t have taken the picture or would you do your job? I think that hit a nerve.’ 

The police agreed to file a report about the hacking, but unconvinced they were really going to do much to help, Charlotte decided to take matters into her own hands, and set on creating a dossier of victims from IsAnyoneUp.com to give to the FBI – eventually presenting them with a file that was several inches thick. 

‘Compiling evidence was really depressing. It felt like running a suicide hotline if I’m honest,’ Charlotte says. ‘I was the one calling all these women, and a lot of time they weren’t even aware they were on this site. They were hysterical, they were freaked out, they were in tears. 

‘The only positive was I’d been through it at this point, and could give them some advice and support. They often felt like they couldn’t speak to family or friends about it, so I was there for them.’ 

However, Charlotte found herself facing Moore’s wrath, as ‘The Family’ got wind of her investigation and targeted her. 

‘I started getting death threats,’ she explains. ‘I was being bombarded with computer viruses. It was scary. I didn’t know who the people making the death threats were. I didn’t know what they were capable of. Hurting women was just theirs and Moore’s business model. 

‘My husband begged for me to stop for our safety, but I was completely obsessed with the cause at this point. I wasn’t going to stop.’ 

Charlotte was no longer alone in her quest to bring IsAnyoneUp.com down, with Moore’s raised media profile alerting him to others who found his behaviour despicable. 

Tech entrepreneur James McGibney first saw Moore after his appearance on the Anderson Cooper show and started investigating his character. 

‘I went to his site and within 10 seconds on being IsAnyoneUp.com, I just knew I really f***ing hated the guy. It became my laser focus mission to completely destroy his life,’ he explains to Metro.co.uk. 

The vendetta against Moore was personal for former Marine James, who had grown up in abusive households. To help other children who found themselves in a similar situation, James had set up Bullyville.com, a platform to offer support for victims, and he hoped to use the site to close IsAnyoneUp. 

‘Sometimes, you need to be a bully to beat a bully,’ James explains. ‘And I was prepared to do what I had to shut Moore down.’ 

James decided to try and befriend Moore and pretend he wanted to advertise on IsAnyoneUp to understand the business model, with the two regularly communicating. 

‘As I researched the site, I could tell some of the girls were underage and Moore needed to take some of the content down,’ James says. ‘He said he wasn’t going to take anything down as he needed content – even when he got wind of the FBI investigating him. That’s when I realised what was going on with Hunter was that he didn’t care about destroying women’s lives, he just cared about content. He was an unempathetic asshole.’ 

With the FBI’s hacking investigation, initiated by Charlotte, now closing in on Moore, James then offered to buy IsAnyoneUp.com off him for a rock bottom price. 

‘Hunter was saying he was making $25k a month, but it was all lies,’ James says. ‘I knew the backend of the site and it wasn’t making anywhere near that. So I bought the website off him for less than $15,000.’ 

Now owning IsAnyoneUp.com, James deleted all the site’s content, and redirected the page to Bullyville.com, as well as a statement written by Moore for his reasons for selling up. 

However, it was nowhere near the end of the road for the self-styled ‘king of revenge porn’, whose brief moment of contrition quickly faded when his ‘Family’ accused him of being a sell-out. Moore was determined to return more debauched than ever, announcing he was starting a new website that had the same premise as IsAnyoneUp.com, but with an added ‘map’ feature, so fans could turn up at the homes of those with nudes on the website. 

He was quoted as telling a news outlet: ‘If someone killed themselves over being on Is Anyone Up, do you know how much money I’d make?’, and added on Twitter: ‘The new site is honestly going to cause murders.’ 

James found himself facing Moore’s fury. Still humiliated from James’s success at shutting down the website, he took to Twitter to call James a paedophile, before boasting to his followers that he was going to rape James’s then-pregnant wife in front of James and his children. 

‘I had my guns at the ready for a few days,’ James admits. ‘Hunter may or may not have showed up at my front door, but his followers were saying, hey, I can attack him for you, here’s his address. I was waiting for someone to show up.’ 

But both James, and Charlotte, found themselves another powerful ally in the guise of Anonymous – the ‘chaotic good’ internet vigilante group comprised of highly-skilled hackers, who also wanted to bring Moore to justice. In a short YouTube video, Anonymous – who are characterised by members in Guy Fawkes masks – issued a worldwide call to ‘Hunt Hunter’, which unleashed the fury of the group on Moore. 

As well as wiping out all of Moore’s servers and backups of previous files, Anonymous attacked Moore’s personal data. It is thought they emptied his bank account and donated all his money to women’s refuges. His social security number was wiped. A genuine death certificate was created, which declared Hunter Moore dead in the state of California. His passport became invalid. After learning that he was still living at his parent’s house in Sacramento, Anonymous shipped hundreds of dildos to his address.  

‘Vigilante justice is the best kind of justice,’ James says. ‘Especially when it came to a person like Hunter. I enjoyed every second of it.’ 

Moore’s comeuppance did not stop there: the FBI investigation yielded evidence that Moore had asked accomplice Charlie Evans to hack into email addresses to acquire nude photographs to post on IsAnyoneUp.com, paying Evans $200 a week for his work. Moore accepted a plea deal for charges of hacking and identity theft in 2015, and received 30 months jail time, as well as being banned from Facebook. Since his release, Moore has kept a low profile, saying he wants a ‘peaceful life’ after serving time behind bars. His Twitter account sees him pushing cryptocurrency on his four thousand followers. 

However, the battle is far from over for people like James and Charlotte, who are still fighting to get stronger legislation against revenge porn in America. Charlotte’s tireless efforts have seen now 48 states adopt some sort of laws against image-based abuse – seeing her dubbed the ‘Erin Brockovich of revenge porn’. She now wants a federal law – a universal law in America that covers all 50 states – to offer further protection to women. 

‘The First Amendment needs to be strengthened in regards to cyber issues,’ Charlotte explains. ‘Harming women shouldn’t be sport. We need a law that covers all 50 states stopping this from ever happening again.’ 

Attitudes towards revenge porn may have become more sympathetic over the last decade, but there are still plenty with the same mindset as Hunter Moore that lurk in the shadows, wanting to see women abused, belittled and tormented. In the UK, cases of revenge porn are thought to have risen by 41% between 2020 and 2021 alone. 

James says more people are contacting Bullyville every day in regards to image-based abuse. 

‘We’re seeing a lot more extortion,’ he says, ‘We need more to help people. People are killing themselves. Police can only do so much, but more needs to be done on the whole to deter people from doing this.’ 

But potential jail time isn’t a strong enough deterrent. Stephanie* is a victim of revenge porn in recent years, with her harasser having never faced any repercussions of his actions despite new laws introduced in the UK to protect women. 

‘I overdosed when the pictures were out there, and it was partially because I knew I was never going to get justice for this,’ she says. 

‘I think it’s impossible to regulate this, the situation is so out of control and the internet is just so big.’ 

Professor Clare McGlynn argues that an entire societal hierarchy will need to be altered in order to stamp out revenge porn. 

‘Underpinning most of this is a general inequality in society,’ she says. ‘Until that changes, image-based abuse and the impact it has, particularly on women, will stand. Until we change our attitudes, we will always have people like Hunter Moore who will torment women.’ 

The Most Hated Man on the Internet is available to watch on Netflix. 

*Names have been changed.

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