‘The Most Hated Man On The Internet’ review: a gripping yarn from the wild wild web

10 years ago, the net's biggest knobhead was undoubtedly Hunter Moore

Hate is a strong word. Maybe not strong enough, though, for Hunter Moore. Named “the most hated man on the internet” by Rolling Stone after founding the original revenge porn site, isanyoneup.com, frat-bro Moore became an overnight celebrity in the early 2010s by making his fortune off cyberbullying.

More than that though, he enjoyed it. Building a cult of personality around his own ego, Moore gathered an online army of incels that did whatever he told them to. Worshipped at wild parties across the states (“Like Howard Stern meets Jackass every single night”) Moore encouraged his followers to troll women to the point of suicide and took to every radio show around to tell everyone how much he didn’t care.

Getting the most clicks from maximum humiliation, Moore only relied on anonymous nudes when he had to – realising that he could score bigger by asking someone to hack email accounts to look for personal photos. What he didn’t bank on, though, was an angry mum. When Kayla Laws’ life was ruined by a private topless shot on his site, her mum, Charlotte, started fighting back.

A decade after he had his ugly moment in the spotlight, Moore is back as the subject of a bingeable Netflix docuseries that tries to unpick the extraordinary criminal investigation that followed. Made by Raw TV, the company who produced Don’t F**k With Cats and The Tinder Swindler, The Most Hated Man On the Internet finds a perfect hero in Charlotte Laws – a woman who almost singlehandedly took on an underground empire in her spare time.

There’s so much to love about the Laws’ crusade (Charlotte’s history as a professional party crasher, British dad Charles’ posh indifference to the whole thing) and director Rob Miller keeps things compelling throughout all three hour-long episodes, but it’s the bigger story running in the background that stays the most interesting.

Getting interviews with viral stars, ex-followers and former scenesters, the series touches on the vital early days of the culture war that’s still raging today. Growing out of youth and sexism and frustration and anonymity, the rise of the troll is shown here dangerously tangled up in America’s right-wing subcultures, making Moore’s story (and terrifying popularity) stand for something far more dangerous than even he seems to realise.

None of this is the main focus, and The Most Hated Man On the Internet is pretty unique among Netflix docuseries at feeling too short, but the shadows lurking behind Moore’s downfall make the show feel even more fascinating. Lighter and looser than it could be (as well as sorely missing Moore’s voice), the series mostly skims the surface of a particularly dirty pond – but it’s still impossible to hate.

Details

  • Director: Rob Miller
  • Featuring: Hunter Moore, Charlotte Laws, Kayla Laws
  • Release date: July 27 (Netflix)
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