Most of us dislike someone. It's okay to not like a person, but it's not okay to degrade or disrespect that person.

Unfortunately, with the explosion of social media, cyberbullying has become integrated into mainstream life. You've seen it when people lie, rant, taunt and gossip maliciously. It's terrible that our kids have to go through it and it's equally destructive for adults. In fact, the need for some people to humiliate and shame others isn't a reflection of the person getting slammed. It's a reflection of the bully.

Locally, cyberbullying is part of lawsuits filed by fitness and yoga studio owner Jen Panagakos against Aidan Kearney, known as the controversial blogger Turtleboy and owner of Turtleboy and Worcester Digital Marketing; Tara Winterhalter, owner of Ritual Sweat Society; and yoga instructor Lacey Fahy, for what Panagakos claims is defamation, invasion of privacy and emotional distress she suffered as a result of a smear campaign and cyberbullying organized against her and her business. The lawsuits were filed in 2018 in Bristol County Superior Court.

Ms. Panagakos and her husband, local developer Mike Panagakos, appeared on The Phil Paleologos Morning Show today to talk about adult cyberbullying and the lawsuits. Equal time will be afforded to Aidan "Turtleboy" Kearney on Monday, September 9 at 9:30 a.m. and Lacey Fahy on Thursday, September 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Combatting cyberbullying isn't easy. The website advises not to respond to or forward cyberbully messages. But if you let people get away with bashing you without defending yourself, that's not acceptable either.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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