The young woman who enraged the world Monday after praising God for the deadly earthquake in Japan has given an interview to The Atlantic Wire.
"I'm a pretty normal person," she told The Wire. "I'm kind of a history nerd."
For the last year, YouTube user Tamtampamela has produced a series of videos in which she pretends to be a radical far-right Christian—often deceiving and infuriating thousands of commenters. She routinely claimed that non-believers would "burn in hell" and that President Obama was the "anti-Christ." But this week, she became an Internet pariah after saying "God is such an amazing God... we have been praying specifically for God to open the eyes of atheists all over the world... And just a few days, not even a few days later, God shook the country of Japan. He literally grabbed the country by the shoulders and said 'Hey look, I'm here.'"
Now, in her first interview since the controversy, she reveals how she felt the day her video spread across the Web.
"This is going to make me sound like a really bad person," she began. "But I was kind of excited that all these people were angry because I am a troll and I enjoy getting a reaction out of people."
Reaction is exactly what she got.
Soon after her video was published Monday, Twitter and Facebook users conveyed their horror and spread the video rapidly. Publications such as Vanity Fair, Gawker, Perez Hilton, Richard Dawkins's website, The Miami New Times, and the Examiner reposted the video. Other Internet trolls dug up and shared her home address and phone number.
"Can some one kill that bitch?" wrote one of thousands of YouTube commenters. "Seriously... she should be on a terror watch list or something," wrote another.
Before deleting her account late Monday night she posted a video saying it was all a stunt and she was just a "troll."
Today, she remained insistent that her trolling was justified and that she would continue to troll (albeit no longer as Tamtampamela).
"This hasn't changed anything," she said. "People were okay with my Haiti video when a 100,000 people died but for some reason they were upset with Japan, which has killed 2,000 people."
While she wouldn't disclose specifics about her name or age, she said she is a working college student in her mid-20s. Her interests include videogaming, particularly Shadow of the Colossus, playing the piano and reading about European history. She got into trolling after reading the website "The Best Page in the Universe" in high school, a humor site run by long-time troll Maddox.
Somewhat remarkably, she said her parents have no idea about her videos or the ensuing controversy she caused. "They're not web savvy."
As for her personal safety, she said she isn't overly worried but does think about what a stray lunatic could do.
"I guess I'm just slightly worried that there might be one crazy person out there who wasn't too happy with me," she said.
She added that her close friends had mixed feelings about her second life as a faux Christian crusader. "They were concerned for my safety but also concerned that I was painting a bad image of who Christians are."
"In my defense, if I am able to show people that this is how some people think and it's wrong, I think it's a pretty effective way of doing that," she said.
But regardless of her argument against Christianity, a number of commentators have said "parody or not" her remarks were wildly insensitive given the devastation happening in Japan. She dismissed those critics.
"People have made light of the Crusades, World War I and World War II and all the different wars and revolutions throughout history," she offered. "Whether they should or shouldn't is not my place to say."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.