A Twitter firestorm
Jami Lafay — the professional name of Jami Daniels, a poker player and Twitter personality who is best known for her semi-regular appearances on Hustler Casino Live — became the center of a Twitter firestorm this week when her GoFundMe became the target of one of Todd Witteles’s investigations.
a goal of $50,000 to help Lafay
The GoFundMe page, started by LaFay’s boyfriend and sister, went up on Monday with a goal of $50,000 to help Lafay with her lost income during her recovery and to help with any medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.
Witteles claimed that “a lot doesn’t add up” about the campaign.
On Wednesday, the ensuing fallout reached the point that Lafay claimed to be going to court in an attempt to stop Witteles’s “harassment.”
The GoFundMe campaign
According to the GoFundMe page, doctors found a metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma (the most common form of thyroid cancer) and a pleomorphic adenoma (a benign tumor of the salivary glands) in her neck earlier in the year.
recovery will take three to six months
The situation according to the GoFundMe is that on Monday, Lafay went in for a ten-hour surgery to remove the adenoma. Complications led to a second round of surgery that night and nerve damage the next day. Further surgery will be required and recovery will take three to six months.
The same day that Lafay was in surgery, Todd Witteles took the GoFundMe to task on the Poker Fraud Alert forums. He cited inconsistencies in Lafay’s account of events and pointed out previous behavior that he felt spoke to her poor character.
Although Witteles admits that he believes that Lafay’s surgeries and illness are real, his position is that the GoFundMe is an attempt to cash in on Lafay’s misfortune rather than a good faith attempt on her part to meet a dire need.
The Twitter fallout
Once Witteles’s accusations hit Twitter, the situation did what it usually does: it escalated. Lafay and her advocates were slow to respond to the substance of Witteles’s accusations, creating a gap into which the trolls poured.
People took sides. Suspicions of bad motives became accusations of fraud. Skeptical questioning was accused of being character assassination, then actually became character assassination. Accounts were banned, threats were made.
Within a few days Lafay claimed that she making legal filings against Witteles and several other Twitter accounts.
The poker world is sensitive to scammers, the whole world is sensitive to cancer, and Twitter’s algorithm seeks out confrontation. As a result, this fire is likely to keep burning for a while. Yet another thing to lay at the door of the US healthcare system.