TFAs of the Week: Jennifer and Scott Petkov

Since the Total Fucking Assholes post has gone over so well, I’ve been thinking a regular feature is in order, and this morning, I found the perfect inaugural TFA(s) of the Week.

Jennifer Petkov is the 33-year-old neighbor of 7-year-old Kathleen Edward, who lost her mom to Huntington’s Disease last year and is now dying of it herself. Like Lori Drew, the TFA who created a MySpace account just to humiliate a depressed 13-year-old girl, contributing to that girl’s eventual suicide, Petkov apparently enjoys tormenting children online. According to CBS News:

Petkov admitted to WJBK News in Detroit that she had posted ghoulish art work of the child on her Facebook page. The picture showed the Kathleen’s face – eyes closed and tongue lolling out – with a pair of crossed bones beneath it.

Petkov also admitted to posting a Photoshopped image of Kathleen’s mother cradled by the Grim Reaper.

But despite the headline about “cyberbullying” — and the media’s general tendency to act as though the internet created relational aggression — Petkov’s real-world viciousness was even more ghastly: She and her husband “decorated their pickup to look like a hearse, strapped a homemade coffin on top, and drove it back and forth in front of the home Kathleen shares with her father and step mother. Petkov said it was just a Halloween prank.”

Of course it was.

Experts offer opinions on what might drive grown people to harass a dying child (up to and including the pernicious influence of reality TV, I shit you not) but I think we all know what “[possible] severe narcissism with an antisocial element” means in layperson’s terms: Total fucking asshole. I really don’t have any other words right now — but I’m not sure I need any.

ETA: Having read that the Petkovs have received death threats, I want to point out that if you make such threats, or otherwise harass someone, you are also a total fucking asshole.

11 thoughts on “TFAs of the Week: Jennifer and Scott Petkov

  1. This is an adult doing this. A 33 year old woman. That’s is the most fucking disgusting thing I have ever heard.

  2. I honestly think the reality TV thing isn’t too far off the mark. As in, people are keenly aware in this day and age what types of things attract a lot of media attention. And everyone knows that you don’t have to be a moral or remotely good person to get famous fast–if anything it helps if you’re the opposite.

    I just hate people sometimes, oyughgh.

    • You may have a point…it’s not that reality TV makes people cruel, it’s that it makes cruelty a path to fame, giving peopel who are already TFAs more incentive.

  3. Ugh. I live about an hour away from these TFAs, so I’ve been following the story closely. It makes me ill to think that people like this exist in the world, even though I know better.

    On the plus side, the Edwards family has been getting an outpouring of support from the community since this all came to light. There’s a toy store in Ann Arbor – that is doing a shopping spree thing for Kathleen this morning, and donating a bunch of toys and money to Mott Children’s Hospital.

    AND the owner organized the whole thing through a Reddit post (, so there goes the Internet Is Ebil theory.

    (Trigger warning for the Reddit comments, plenty of angry jerks threatening violence.)

  4. Holy shit. It’s just insane, and terrifying to me–with every technological innovation, our power to better *and to destroy* the lives of other human beings is skyrocketing. Each time I hear about more horrible cyber-assholery I have to look for news of some amazing medical innovation, or the improvement of water filtration in a developing country, or something, to balance it out in my head.

    Total. Fucking. Asshole.

  5. If I ran the media, all the news stories would be framed as “Dying child heroically holds up under torment from her neighbors who are such tiny-souled pieces of dog crap stuck to society’s shoe that this paper will not even deign to print their names or anything they have to say for themselves, because they are ADULTS who should KNOW BETTER.”

    But that probably wouldn’t fit on a headline.

  6. I know the harassment is directed principally at the girl’s grandmother rather than the girl herself, who they probably (wrongly) thought was too young to know what was going on anyway. I only wish she didn’t know about it, although it’s wonderful that the community has rallied around her.

    But what kind of heartless scumwad do you have to be to think that an old woman losing her daughter AND her granddaughter to a horrible degenerative disease within the space of a few months is insufficient punishment? I don’t care if the grandmother is Dick Cheney and Kim-Jong Il rolled into one, what could anyone possibly do to deserve that?

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