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Can You ‘Like’ a Psychotic Necrophiliac Murderer?

By Periscope @periscopepost

Luka Rocco Magnotta, alleged murder, has a number of Facebook fan pages Luka Rocco Magnotta, alleged murder, has a number of Facebook fan pages – this picture came from one.

The background

Luka Rocco Magnotta is a Canadian porn star and sometime model who is accused of murdering a Chinese exchange student, dismembering the man’s body, and making a video of himself having sex with it before mailing off some pieces to the offices of Canadian political parties and feeding some to his dogs. He’s also accused of posting a series of videos of himself torturing kitten to death to YouTube.

And some people really like him.

Magnotta, whose alleged crimes sparked an international manhunt that ended in an internet café in Berlin on 4 June, is currently being held in Canadian prison, awaiting a preliminary hearing in March 2013. In the mean time, commentators want to know: How can you “like” a murderer?

The Facebook phenomenon: ‘Liking’ a murderer

After Magnotta was arrested on 4 June for the murder of 30-year-old Jun Lin, several Facebook groups sprang up in support of the alleged killer, reported Canada’s National Post. “Some of them say they love him, say he has been set up for a murder, that they want to have sex with him, maybe just get a tattoo of him. Others say he is mentally ill, needs help or they feel sympathetic to his desire to find fame. And some say it was Magnotta in that snuff film that purportedly shows the slaying of Lin, the sex acts performed to his corpse — yet they still find the alleged killer ‘inspirational.’” Facebook has since removed several pages, but when one comes down, another goes up. One “Support Luka Rocco Magnotta” page on Facebook has garnered only 30 “likes”. Written in French, the page’s administrators say they’re not trying to excuse his crime, but trying to offer him the empathy that he clearly didn’t get throughout his childhood. Others, however, have attracted as many as 1,400 followers before being pulled down by Facebook.

Screen grab of a Magnotta support page on Facebook. Screen grab of a Magnotta support page on Facebook.

Who starts these things?

Destiney St-Denis, a 21-year-old from Saskatoon, Canada, told The Huffington Post that she started the “Support Magnotta” page because she believed he needed support. She made contact with Magnotta, she said, before the murder of Jun Lin, after she  watched videos of him killing kittens on YouTube. “I like him. He must think that nobody likes him, but there are a lot of us who do,” she said. The page reached 1,400 fans before Facebook pulled it down for “inappropriate content”, and St-Denis says she plans to start another soon. She also told the site that she’s watched the video of Jun Lin’s death more than 20 times – “I’ve seen worse in horror films. I really like horror films,” she explained.

Obsessive Luka fans living in a ‘fantasy’

HuffPo spoke with Quebec psychologist Pierre Faubert, who said it’s not unusual for some people, especially women, to create elaborate fantasies about a person like Magnotta as a way to escape their reality, drawn by a desire to encounter dangerous criminals and driven by an obsessive-compulsive personality. “At the same time, Magnotta is androgynous, so women obsessed by him could see in him a child they want to protect or an object of beauty,” Faubert said, adding that those urges could be symptomatic of more serious emotion problems. “They are living a fantasy.”

This is almost as disturbing as his crimes

Louis Peitzman, writing at Gawker, was horrified by the fan pages, declaring that “a crush on him with the knowledge of what he’s done is pathological”. The whole thing is deeply worrying, especially St-Denis’s apparent conflating of reality and horror films. Said Peitzman, “Magnotta’s internet allies may be deeply troubled, but let’s hope this isn’t indicative of any larger cultural trend — the concept that horrible acts of violence, the murder of innocents, are somehow justifiable as entertainment.”

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