Toronto’s Gossip Girl Website Scrutinized After ‘Rosedale Jam’ Park Party Stabbing
It’s been five years since the series finale of Gossip Girl — a salacious CW television series, based on books by Cecily von Ziegesar. Now, in midtown Toronto, the spirit of the teen drama is getting an unlikely revival.
Miss Informed is a gossip site, and a social labyrinth for an adolescent world. It gives an outlandish glimpse into the lives of teenagers identified only by first names and initials — though one post indicated that last names were once used, as well.
“Who am I?” an introductory page reads.
“Well, I’m one of you, but I’m also only your new favorite source for the latest gossip on the social scene at the Midtown Toronto high schools, as well as it’s parties, gossip, stories, and finally, it’s hottest couples and people.”
One post asks readers for more information about a fight between two girls, alluding that it may have been over romantic jealousy. The comments range from corrections on what school the teens attend to a play-by-play of one girl being flung away “like a tissue.”
Notes of friends becoming mortal enemies follow. Other posts are warmer, pronouncing the “hottest couple” or a pair in a “lovely relationship.”
But the site’s quippy gossip and snarky observations went awry one warm Saturday night in mid-September.
Emergency calls poured in on Sept. 16 from the area around Rosedale Park. Stabbings, assaults and robberies were compounded by medical calls for unconscious and intoxicated teens. Police reported hundreds had arrived after receiving information across social media.
All reported incidents involved victims between 15 and 16-years-old, and the suspects were approximately eight to 10 boys and girls in their late teens, wearing hoodies with bandanas covering their faces.
Multiple parties in a number of weeks followed the same pattern, and police believe the suspects attend for the sole purpose of carrying out robberies and other criminal activity. They also have evidence leading them to believe there have been several unreported incidents of a similar nature.
Staff Sgt. James Hogan of Toronto Police’s 53 Division says the Rosedale Park party was certainly aided by social media — but it wasn’t caused by it.
“I certainly went to lots of parties in forests and fields without social media when I was younger. It’s not a new phenomenon; it’s just a different way of organizing it,” he explained.
Hogan will be a panelist at a Tuesday night town-hall style event, run by the North Rosedale and neighbouring residents associations. The purpose of the evening, at Rosedale United Church, is to discuss Midtown teenagers’ use of social media and their safety in a digital age, given recent events.
Police will also provide an update on their criminal investigation.