Saskatoon teen faces bullying after meeting Bieber
Natalia Betancourt's dream has now turned into a
The 17-year-old girl from Saskatoon says she's been the victim of bullying for much of her life but this week is off the charts.
It's been her goal for the last six years to meet Justin Bieber, a feat she accomplished at his concert on Tuesday with a backstage pass.
The next day, @SaskatoonSays - a stranger to Betancourt - posted "was @natbetancourt the only girl we could get to represent Saskatoon to Justin Bieber last night? #sorrybieber #shouldbesomeonehot.
Betancourt said she was Tweeting and using Facebook to show her excitement leading up to the concert.
In turn, she received hateful message.
"Really, really hurtful things," said Betancourt, in tears.
She posted a self-portrait with her backstage pass. Someone commented with an emoticon face and a gun pointing to its head.
She received tweets like:
"I wonder what it feels like to spend 800$ on someone who is not going to remember you? @natbetancourt??"
"I think I'm just as excited for Justin Bieber as @natbetancourt cause then I won't have to a read countless tweets about it #noteven going"
"@natbetancourt he won't remember you"
Betancourt opened up in a Facebook post saying she wanted the bullying to stop. She received a text message from a girl that reads, "So personally I don't think you were 'cyberbullied.' There's kids starving in Africa your complaints are so petty and such a first world problem. Be grateful for what you have and stop playing the victim card."
Marianne Betancourt, her mother, contacted the girl.
"I told her that her messages are going to stop to my daughter that day. I asked her if she knew what bullying was and she never answered me. She thought all those comments were to be funny. Everybody thought it was joke. Nobody thought that it was hurtful," said Marianne.
Betancourt said she's not second-guessing that the comments were a joke. When the remarks hurt the person they are directed toward, it's not funny, she said.
"I know what bullying is. Clearly she doesn't if she doesn't think it is bullying," said Betancourt, adding if people didn't like her posts they had the option to unfollow or unfriend her.
A friend and former co-worker of Natalia's, Ang Marklinger, said she is inspired by Betancourt's strength. Marklinger was a victim of bullying in high school and says she felt as helpless as the Betancourt family does right now.
"My family didn't know what to do either. All they could do was put their arms around me and squeeze me as hard as I could until I stopped crying," said Marklinger.
"I don't understand why it had to be taken to the extreme that it has … as a friend and as someone who has been there before it's extremely irritating."
Marianne said she's at the point right now where she doesn't know where to turn. She has documented most of the bullying taking place. She contemplated taking Natalia's cell phone and computer away, but says in the digital age we live in, it would be impossible to expect her daughter to live without them.
"They don't get it. These kids don't get it. They don't know what bullying is," she said.
Follow on Twitter: @KarinYeske