Gossip Girls: Nikki and Mandie

Gossip Girls: Nikki and Mandie

"As a result of my daughter's online gossip, we could potentially lose everything," says Cherie, whose daughter, Mandie, was convicted of a misdemeanor two years ago.

"The MySpace conversation was an inside joke," says Mandie, "but to everyone else it was probably mean and violent."


The gossip began when Mandie and Nikki learned that another girl from school, Crystal, had been hanging out with Nikki's boyfriend. To get back at their classmate, the girls turned to MySpace and together posted a list of threats against Crystal.

Nikki reveals, "I told Mandie that I wanted to slit [Crystal's] throat. We were going to smash her head."

"And Mandie was just going along with it, kind of fueling her fire. It wasn't good," says Cherie.

Another classmate saw the online conversation and brought it to the school.

"Mandie and I got called down to the office and we saw our parents in there," Nikki recounts. "It was then that we realized that everything we had done was a lot worse than what we thought."

Word about the incident spread with the help of the local media. "The media was everywhere," says Mandie. "It was on TV at least once a week."

Cherie attributes the media's interest to the involvement of MySpace. "It was something that they could grab onto and they ran with it," she says.

In one media report, Crystal's mother, Ruth, says,
"The principal told me this was just talk. How do we know it's just talk? Can he guarantee that no one was going to hurt her?"

Meanwhile, Nikki was feeling uncertainties of her own. "Just the thought of going to a juvenile detention center was really terrifying," she recalls.

In the end, the girls received six months probation, 30 hours of community service, were required to take an anger management class, and were not allowed to talk to each other.

Cherie says, "We got through that. [Mandie] did what she needed to do, and at that point we felt that it was all taken care of. Now, two years later, the victim's mother is suing for negligence."

"My mom and I are reaching out to Dr. Phil now so we can show other kids that it's not fun and games talking about stuff like this," says Mandie.


Dr. Phil turns to Nikki. "What were you thinking when you guys were doing this?" he asks.

"It was just to scare her away," says Nikki, "because we thought she liked my boyfriend then. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously."

Dr. Phil asks Cherie, "If you read something on the Internet about some people who were conspiring to attack your daughter, wouldn't you be concerned?"

"Absolutely," she replies. "Yeah, that would scare me."

"Why were you doing this?" Dr. Phil asks Mandie. "It wasn't even your boyfriend."

"She was upset, so it upset me," she replies.

"Was what you did wrong?" asks Dr. Phil.

Without hesitation, Mandie says yes.

 

Dr. Phil runs down the list of threats the girls made on MySpace, starting with Mandie's. "You said, 'Going to beat her to death, or smash her head in the ground and make her hair red.' ‘I'll *-ing kill them. We're going to jail. Bam, the bitch is out.'" He reminds Nikki, "You said very similar things. ‘I'll *-ing kill her. Going to *-ing slit her *.*. throat.' You guys understand that in an environment in which we live, where people do go to school and kill people, shoot people, go off on people and kill classmates and teachers, that the world's really sensitized to this kind of thing, right? You know that now, correct?"

Nikki says, "Yeah."

"Would you do this again?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No," says Nikki. "Never do anything, even similar to this. I definitely learned my lesson."

Two years after the incident, Dr. Phil is curious about Nikki's boyfriend.

"Still dating," she tells him.

"Nobody stole him," says Dr. Phil, "so false alarm?"

"Yes," Nikki says.

Dr. Phil learns that the relationship between Nikki and Mandie didn't have as much staying power. Mandie says they're not friends like they were before, and Dr. Phil wants to know why.

"Probably just because of everything that we went through," she says. "It's not the same anymore."

 

Dr. Phil asks the girls if they've ever beaten anyone up or committed any of the acts laid out in their online threat.

"No," says Mandie.

"I've never even been in a fight with anybody," says Nikki. "Not a physical fight."

"So you two were big talkers," says Dr. Phil, "but you don't have a history of violence."

Dr. Phil turns to Nikki. "So how do you feel about your family being sued?" he asks.

"I don't think we should be sued again," she says. "The things we wrote, I don't think the punishment we got was worth everything. We had to do so much."

Dr. Phil introduces Nikki's mother, who expresses her concern about the pending lawsuit. She says, "We have three mortgages on our house, and we're still making payments on the attorney for her in the original case two years ago. It went on that long."

"Do you feel badly about that?" Dr. Phil asks Nikki.

"Yeah," she says. "It's not their fault. I have a job but I can't help them pay for everything." She wipes a tear from her eye.

"And that hurts, to see the family in jeopardy because of something you did," says Dr. Phil.

She pauses to collect herself before saying, "We've never had a lot of money, but now it's just so hard and all the money they want from us, we can't get it. I can't help them get it. My little job at a fast food restaurant can't " I can't help them. And because of the MySpace thing, I can't get a better job because everyone knows about it." Tears stream down her cheeks.

Dr. Phil asks if Nikki has apologized to Crystal.

"Yes," she says. "I've apologized multiple times. I sent her a message on MySpace right after it happened, before we even knew we were going to get in trouble for it. She didn't accept that apology."

 

"Will you ever do anything like this again?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No," says Nikki. "I can't even imagine doing something like that. "

He asks the same question of Mandie, and she tells him, "No, it wouldn't even cross my mind."

"So, you two have learned your lesson," Dr. Phil

surmises.

"Over and over again," says Nikki.

Dr. Phil has a warning to teenagers everywhere to be careful what they say in writing. He tells Nikki, Mandie and their mothers that regardless of what happens in court, the cost should not be their relationship with each other.

Addressing the mothers, he says, "Your daughters have said it's wrong, and you can't turn the clock back."

Turning back to the girls he adds, "It is hard to take back stupid, and what you did was a stupid thing to do. That's over. You've learned a lesson. You need to close ranks and not let this be a wedge that's driven between you. Your mother will stand by you through this as she has. Don't let it fracture your family. You've said you were sorry. You've said you won't do it again. You've gone through your probation. You've done your community service. Just as I said earlier, with [previous guest] Kailey, it's time to move on. Whether you're victim or perpetrator, it's time to move on."