Chef Rush Reveals The Reality Behind Racism & Death Threats Online

Chef Rush opens up about his PTSD and dangerous comments he has received online.

This past week, Facebook has been on blast after a whistleblower revealed the alleged dangerous tactics behind the company. Namely, that the company cares more about profits than huma beings – and purposefully allows toxic behavior to continue and is even sometimes pushed by their algorithms. Toxicity online is something nearly all people are aware of – especially those with large followings. Chef Rush is a viral bodybuilder who has faced some of the worst of it. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Chef Rush opens up about death threats and racist comments he’s received online.

Chef Rush is best known as the “Bodybuilding White House Chef.” He went viral upon photos released online showing his jacked physique while working at the White House. Since then, Rush has used that momentum to spread awareness about veteran PTSD and start his own businesses. As such, he’s become a bit of an online celebrity with a massive following.

As with most people in the spotlight, having a following often means receiving mass criticism as well. Often times, influencers and celebs simply ignore the comments. But we are all human – and people’s words, no matter how anonymous, can do damage. Then there’s the step above that – when online users take the next step to make direct attacks on influencers and iconic figures. This can be done through direct messages, death threats, racist comments – and also all bolstered by programmed bots to flood online pages with hate.

Chef Rush has experienced these kinds of attacks. In general, he tries to keep an open and positive mind about the internet. He understands that many toxic comments online are simply anonymous individuals looking for likes, clicks, and attention. But in a certain specific moment, Rush started to feel unsafe for himself and his family.

This moment came out of a strange extrapolation of an online post. Chef Rush made a comment about how much sleep he gets at night. He talked about getting very little (he states it was about 4 hours at the time). Somehow, this comment became so controversial that an online user programmed bots against him.

At this point Chef Rush would not even care. He knew that the swarm of comments were not real people. The problem came not due to the bot attack in and of itself – it was what they were saying. A comment about how much sleep to get suddenly turned into a swarm of comments throwing racial slurs on Rush’s posts. Not only that – but he was receiving death threats.

 

The barrage was so constant and cruel – that Chef Rush started to worry about his safety and the safety of his family. Posting your personal life as a viral influencer can open you up to online sleuths determining where you might physically be located – where you live, where you are on a trip, etc. What if this online hate turned into something in the real world?

That’s why Chef Rush did what he normally doesn’t do – he responded to the comments. He made it clear that if any single person were to approach him aggressively in public, he would take matters into his own hands. He kept it vague – but the implications were clear. If he felt that himself or his family were threatened in person, he would fight back.

Eventually the entire situation blew over. But the experience revealed just how out of control attention on social media can become. A comment about sleep turned into racism and death threats. It’s a level of extremism that seems propelled by the instant gratification and anonymity of social media.

You can watch Chef Rush’s full comments about the entire experience in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.