Taylor Chapman, Dunkin' Donuts Hater, Has Struggled With Mental Illness
On a bright and humid Saturday morning, a tanned woman approaches a Dunkin' Donuts counter, brandishes an iPhone, and informs the employees they're under "video surveillance." They'd forgotten her receipt the night before, she proclaims, so now she's returned for a free meal.
"You're a complete cunt sand-nigger whore," she seethes at an Indian employee. "I hope you're happy with your little fucking sand-nigger self because I'm about to nuke your whole planet. You think you're tough? Big fat Arabs bombing the Trade Center. I'll show you tough."
In one of the purest examples of how a cyberconnected, media-saturated America can catapult an obscure individual into nationwide notoriety, this self-shot video featuring 27-year-old Taylor Chapman first went to Facebook -- then went supernova. In a matter of days, Chapman became the most hated woman on the internet. Gawker called her "pure evil" and the "worst person ever." The Smoking Gun described the Oakland Park resident as "horrible" in an article that spawned nearly 3,000 comments. One online commenter advised: "This bitch needs to kill herself." Another posted: "I hope [Chapman] lives a very long and lonely life. [She's] so deserving of it." (New Times also published five articles calling Chapman a "local racist.")
What most of those million-plus readers worldwide didn't know, however, was that Chapman has struggled with mental illness her entire life and been institutionalized at least twice. That's what New Times learned by consulting with Chapman, her fiancé, her friends, and a former roommate. She was arrested in 2011 under the Baker Act after exhibiting multiple personalities in Marion County, according to police records. "I was first diagnosed with it when I was 7," she told New Times in her first public comments since the Dunkin' Donuts rant went viral. She declined to elaborate. "I will make my public statement when I'm ready. And I'm not doing it for free."
The contrast between Chapman's vulnerable background and the hatred leveled at her raise questions about how viral internet posts can instantaneously create heroes and villains -- without including all the facts. Since June 10, when the Smoking Gun posted her video, Chapman has changed her phone number, lost her job, and deleted her social media footprint. It's a digital scarlet letter that won't soon disappear. "Everything's changed now," said Krystal Hosch, sister of Chapman's fiancé, Sean Hosch. "Taylor's sick. She's sick. She's been off her medication, and that's absolutely what caused this. That video will ruin her life."
Even if most of it remains unclear. Chapman's friends, former roommates, and past coworkers say they don't know much about her past or family. "I think she came from Fort Lauderdale," said Cherie Born, who lived with Chapman for ten months in 2011 in Ocala. "I don't really know anything about her past."