Gap blogger victim of vicious hate campaign

A GAP-year student from Muswell Hill has been subjected to an online hate campaign after a blog about his travels was published on the Guardian's website

Miguel Cullen

A GAP-year student from Muswell Hill has been subjected to an online hate campaign after a blog about his travels was published on the Guardian's website.

With a seemingly innocuous blog entry Max Gogarty, 19, became the latest victim of the web phenomenon known as "going viral". The blog attracted 462 comments in the space of a day from readers mocking his style and making accusations of nepotism because Gogarty is the son of occasional Guardian travel contributor Paul Gogarty.

As the Guardian website was forced to close the thread Paul Gogarty leapt to the defence of his son, saying: "He is what he is - a middle-class kid who goes to a comprehensive and managed to get four As and is supporting himself by working in a cafe."

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Mr Gogarty added that Paul is paying for his own travels and that he had nothing to do with getting his son a job in the Guardian, despite the bitter accusations of the blog responders.

Mr Gogarty's entry began: "I'm 19 and live on top of a hill in north London. At the minute, I'm working in a restaurant with a bunch of lovely, funny people; writing a play; writing bits for Skins; spending any sort of money I earn on food and skinny jeans."

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By the time Gogarty had touched down in Mumbai to embark on his travels he had sparked hundreds of responses, become an internet celebrity, the subject of Facebook groups, investment banking chat forums, and had even achieved an entry in Wikipedia, under the heading of Nepotism.

Speaking to the Broadway, his dad Paul said: "I want it to end. It's been horrendous. It's been horrible for Max. I want my 19 year-old son to have some peace."

Comments on Gogarty's blog ranged from the extreme: "Why don't you leave your family's Highgate mansion...move into a council estate in Salford, and then consider writing a blog about your experiences" to the sympathetic: "Oh Christ, this guy's going to get an absolute hammering."

Guardian Unlimited Editor-in-Chief Emily Bell gave her support to both Gogarty and her readers, saying: "A lot of this is quite funny. But not for seems only fair to say sorry.We hope he'll come back one day."

Guardian Unlimited's travel editor Andy Pietrasik said the teenager had come to their notice after writing for the TV show Skins: "No one snuck Max through the backdoor. No one deserves that level of threat and reputation savaging, no matter how skinny his jeans," he said.

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