Death of Michael Anthony Bordlee, New Orleans, Louisiana
On 17 June 2022, information was published for the first time confirming the suicide of Frans Pop and linking it to the history of cyberbullying Pop experienced in the Debian open source project.
Two days later, on 19 June 2022, an open-source VR artist, Michael Bordlee, passed away, age 29, in New Orleans. The cause of death has not been disclosed at this stage.
There is a tribute page for Michael. The cause of death is not mentioned.
We found that Michael had previously worked on a VR simulator to help people understand depression. There is a news article about it. The news article notes that Michael was himself a victim of bullying, much like Frans Pop. There is no statement connecting this to the death.
There have been a number of similar deaths in 2021, including the suspected suicide of 18 year old Redox OS developer Samuel (jd91mzm2 / LEGOlord208) and in Japan, the confirmed suicide of BSNES creator Near ( Byuu / Dave). Both Samuel and Near had described experiences of bullying.
Debian's Lucy Wayland had been exposed to the Debian Christmas lynchings shortly before her death in January 2019. This reminds us that witnesses to bullying can be affected as deeply as the victims. Another Debian Developer had even anticipated the risk of another suicide shortly before Wayland passed away.
The free software fellowship is now maintaining a list of all the open source deaths, including accidents and suicides. Please contribute if you have any more details about any of these cases.
Please email us if you have any evidence concerning Michael Bordlee or any other victims of bullying in the open source world.