Ending a relationship is hard enough, but what happens when a video of you and your ex talking it out goes viral?
Atlanta native, #Hurtbae aka Kourtney Jorge, 23, found out last week when a video of her and her ex became a trending hashtag.
The viral video soon earned a series of memes, spawned related merchandise on Facebook and was viewed and judged by 28 million people and counting.
“I never ever thought it would get this big. I thought maybe a few hundred people would view it and then it would be buried in Facebook feeds,” said Jorge. Mostly, the alumna of Spelman College, was hoping her dad wouldn’t see it.
The video was filmed last year and released on Feb. 14 by thescene.com — a website that offers videos on a range of pop culture topics.
It showed Jorge and her former college sweetheart Leonard Long III, who attended Morehouse College, sitting face-to-face talking about exactly what went wrong in their relationship.
Jorge said she wanted closure. What she got was internet fame.
The day the video was released her best friend called and told her get on Facebook. “I get on there and I was like ‘Oh my God,'”she said. The video had about 10,000 views. When she refreshed the page, it jumped to 100,000. Each time she refreshed, the views were growing by the tens of thousands.
In the video, Jorge was clearly upset. Long appeared unaffected by her pain. He lost track of how many times he cheated on her, he said. She once caught him in the act of cheating and he told her to leave him and the other woman alone. She had resorted to checking his phone and questioning him about various women. He asked her why she chose to live with suspicion rather than leave the relationship
Social media quickly seized on the dynamic between the former couple. Some people criticized Long for treating Jorge badly, while others suggested she was playing the victim. Whatever their position, social media users made #hurtbae the newest trending bae in town.
“I was talking with my family and friends and they were telling me it was a very relatable video,” said Jorge. “My goal was just to get closure and talk to Leonard face-to-face.”
During their four-year relationship, the couple had been in a pattern of kiss and make up, she said. They had never really talked about their problems. Jorge thought it would be a good idea to talk face-to-face and Long agreed.
Jorge said it was helpful to look her ex in the face and talk about what was going on. At the time, she was shocked at his reactions to her questions and how blatant he was about his ongoing infidelity, she said. But when the video came out, she was even more surprised that people had such strong opinions.
“I was taken aback that everyone was so interested in my relationship,” she said.
While social media dragged Leonard, Jorge reiterated that she doesn’t think her ex is evil. “I don’t think he is a bad person but it is insane that people have these strong feelings without knowing him,” she said.
For her part, she said, her relationship with Long was her first serious relationship and the outcome had been painful to experience, but she doesn’t think she would have done anything differently. “This has shaped me as a person,” she said.
Jorge said she relied on friends and family to help her recover from such a heartbreaking experience. She talked to her mom, hung out with friends and soon learned to have fun again, date again and experience new things.
Even strangers have mostly been supportive, sending emails and messages of strength. “I have gotten encouragement that I am not alone,” she said.
While the world online is watching and wondering what is next for #hurtbae, Jorge, who now lives in New York and is reportedly in a new relationship, just hopes women will take heart from her experience.
“I hope my situation can help young girls and even older women who are going through the same situation,” she said.