Harassment and exploitation after the death of a homeless internet star





Friends of “Debby Gang” Say troubled teenager was exploited, harassed and even beaten on video for clicks and views

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He described their meeting as a divine intervention.

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As Toronto mourned the death Tuesday of online star Alexis Matos – better known as “Debby Gang,” “Debby Parkway” or simply “Debby” – a chance encounter last week with Toronto influencer Saif Shawaf s ‘is transformed into the troubled teenager’s last on-camera appearance.

“Honestly, I think it was God’s plan for her to share her story and her truth before she passed away,” Shawaf told the Toronto Sun of the truly heartbreaking exchange, where the clearly drunk teenager described a tortured life of homelessness, drug addiction and sexual abuse.

“It was a cry for help.”

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Shawaf stood outside the Eaton Center last Wednesday, offering passersby $ 100 if they could make him cry.

Among the spectators was Matos, whom he said he recognized immediately.

“Debby Gang” was a notorious and controversial figure in Toronto’s burgeoning urban social media scene.

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The 18-year-old died of a drug overdose at a Toronto homeless shelter on Tuesday.

She was only 15 when people started posting videos of their encounters with her – clips described as exploitative and glorifying violence against a vulnerable girl struggling with drug addiction and homelessness.

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The most popular were videos of people harassing and even assaulting her, including a 2019 clip of a man beating and punching her outside of Lawrence subway station.

Those who knew her remember a troubled but genuine soul who yearned for a career in entertainment.

“She wanted to do music and theater,” said Tiny, a close friend and “mother of the street,” who told the Sun Debby has had a hard time adjusting to the people who take advantage of her fame.

A GoFundme fundraising campaign for a memorial surpassed $ 10,000 in just 15 hours.

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A lot of anger is directed at 6ixBuzz – the independent media juggernaut founded by Sarman Esagholian and Abraham Tekabo – accused of exploiting Debby for both clicks and influence.

The Toronto sun inquiries to 6ixBuzz for comment was not acknowledged.

“She tells me it never happened to her, but deep down I know it does,” Tiny said of the negative attention Debby got, adding that people were more interested in. use his notoriety only to get his help.

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A petition demanding the shutdown of 6ixBuzz was approaching 700 signatures on Wednesday afternoon.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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