There are two problems many of us have when it comes to social media. The first is the fact that we refer to all of our social media accounts as “mine. We say things like, “If you don’t like what I post on my wall, you can unfriend me.” and “If you don’t like my Twitter feed, you don’t have to follow me.” It’s a ridiculous way of thinking because it’s a social forum. The internet belongs to all of us and you just threw your dirty laundry into cyberspace. Our social media accounts aren’t akin to a secret diary, as much as many of would like to think that’s true. Unless you have something set as private, it isn’t yours. It’s ours. This isn’t to say people who are torn down on the internet deserve it, but it has to be acknowledge that people need to think before they post. That offensive tweet, that picture of your ID with your address on it, those nudes you posted to Tumblr – posting things like that are a terrible mistake and thirty seconds of thought could saved you a lot of trouble.
I’m not victim blaming here, because the second problem we have with social media is our mob mentality and our short term memory when it comes to the people whose lives we ruined or publicly shamed. Do you remember who Walter Palmer is? Probably not, but there’s a good chance you helped publicly shame him.
Remember Alicia Ann Lynch? Probably not, but you probably joined the mob and ruined her life over a simple, tasteless tweet.
Remember Justine Sacco? No? Okay. Let’s start with her.
15. Justine Sacco Became the Internet’s Favourite Punching Bag
When you think of tweets that have ruined people’s lives, you think of celebrities that put their foot in their mouth or expressed a mildly offensive view that was blown entirely out of proportion. It’s not often you think of an average person coming under the ire of the Internet over 140 characters.
Meet Justine Sacco.
While traveling, Justine (a PR worker), tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
In an interview with the New York Times, Sacco claimed she was making fun of the bubble that white Americans live in. Her intention was just the opposite of how the Internet took it. During her eleven hour flight, the tweet set the internet ablaze. Sacco lost her job, her lifestyle, and became so infamous that she couldn’t even date as her name became instantly Google-able.
14. Gwyneth Paltrow Is A Racist…Kind Of?
If we’ve learned anything about the N-word since Bill Maher recently came under fire for using it, it’s that even if you’re making a joke, you don’t say the N-word. Perhaps Bill could have learned from Gwyneth’s mistake.
Gwyneth was brought on stage during a concert for the rapper The-Dream. She later tweeted the image with the caption, “N**gas in Paris for real”.
Many news and celebrity gossip sites were quick to point out that Gwyneth was already a largely hated celebrity due to her inability to understand her privilege and how pretentious she tends to come off. She even officially earned the title of “Most Hated Celebrity” in a Star Magazine ranking list. Let’s just say someone like Gwyneth Paltrow dropping the N-bomb didn’t sit well with people. Since the incident, Gwyneth has been absent from the Marvel film franchise and has only been in a handful of television episodes since then. Her only film role since the incident was the universally panned Mortdecai.
13. Amanda Bynes Had A Mental Breakdown on Twitter
It’s no surprise Amanda Bynes would make the list. While obviously not in her right mind, Amanda sadly made what seemed like an emotional or mental meltdown very public thanks to her documenting the entire ordeal on Twitter. Bynes had a great deal of Tweets that could have made the list, for example, “If you’re gay I can’t f*** with you”, but it was probably her tweet to Rihanna that suggested Chris Brown beat her for being ugly that takes the take. It’s in reference to Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna back in 2009 before the Grammy Awards.
Initially, the internet went after Bynes but it soon became obvious she wasn’t in her right mind. Her career in Hollywood might be over, but she did get the help she needed and her family has reported that Amanda is doing well. According to People Magazine, Bynes is three years sober, taking classes in fashion, and is willing to act again.
12. Anthony Weiner’s Wiener On Display
Anthony Weiner seems to constantly bring disgrace upon himself thanks to a penchant for sexting beautiful women that aren’t his wife. Weiner had linked to an image of his “package” through his public Twitter account. Anthony claimed it was due to a hack. It was a solid excuse considering he had mentioned earlier in the day that he had TiVo issues that led to a Facebook hack. Later, Weiner would admit to exchanging photos and resigned from Congress. Things didn’t stop here.
Eventually, Weiner’s love of sexting would land him in serious hot water. Since he’d already been in trouble for his Twitter link, it’s possible adversaries were already keeping an eye on him. Incidents piled up until Weiner came under fire for sexting a 15-year old girl. Weiner eventually plead guilty to one count of transferring obscene material as part of a deal. He faces around 2 years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender. He will be sentenced in September of 2017.
11. CeeLo Green Cannot Distinguish Between Rape and Consent
“If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent.” This is a very disturbing example of what CeeLo Green tweeted regarding consent and rape.
It’s amazing that musician CeeLo Green thought that this Tweet would go over well. The only reason you could post the idea that an unconscious body being with you would imply consent is if you actually thought readers would say, “You know…he’s right! If someone is unconscious they’re pretty much begging to be raped! It all makes sense!” How CeeLo thought this would go over well is perplexing.
Green had been accused of slipping a woman drugs and then raping her – a situation that was brought down to one charge of pushing ecstasy. To excuse himself to his fans, he posted a series of strange thoughts on what constitutes consent. The tweets cost him his spot as a judge on The Voice and his TBS show CeeLo Green’s The Good Life.
10. Roland Martin is an ignorant homophobe
Roland Martin has made a number of anti-gay comments in the past. Enough that he eventually had to leave his job as a commentator and contributor for CNN.
Among claiming that athletes who wear “head to toe pink suits” needed a “visit from team #whipdatass” and defending beauty queen Carrie Prejean’s attack on gay marriage, Martin also tweeted, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”
The comment would land him a suspension by CNN. Shortly after coming back from his suspension, Martin left permanently after Jeff Zucker took over and apparently let Martin go – likely wanting to distance the network from Martin and any possible guilt by association. Upon leaving, Martin said he would continue to be a “truth teller on a variety of issues”. He clarified that these issues “includes those on the LGBT agenda”.
9. Gilbert Gottfried Joked About the Tsunami in Japan
It’s possible that you might not know who Gilbert Gottfried is. Gilbert was a staple in 1990s comedy thanks to his odd stage persona that included a very distinct voice and eyes that never seemed to open. It’s likely you know him as the voice of the parrot Iago from Disney’s Aladdin. Gottfried got a lot of voice work thanks to this voice he used. One of his biggest deals was his job as the spokesman for Aflac as the voice of the Aflac duck in the company’s insurance commercials.
After the 2012 tsunami in Japan, Gottfried tweeted a number of jokes making light of the disaster. This included tweets like, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them”.
8. Twitter User Cella Fired On Twitter
Let’s take a break from celebrities and take a look at another every day person that became Internet Infamous over a tweet.
Twitter user Cella had just gotten a brand new job at a Jet’s Pizza. While most people would be happy to be employed, Cella went to Twitter and told the world, “Ew I start this f*** a** job tomorrow” followed by a series of ‘thumbs down’ emojis. Unlike Justine Sacco, who meant something entirely different by her life ruining tweet, there wasn’t much room to misconstrue Cella’s words. Someone at the Jet’s location showed her tweet to the manager and Cella was fired, via Twitter, before she even started. Since this was the first instance of someone being fired over Twitter, the tweets went global. As friends pointed out to her, her tweets were making the news in Denmark and France.
Cella seemed to be glad that she was famous, despite the fact that 90% of the internet was insulting her. Someone should point out to her that there is a difference between being famous and being infamous.
7. Iggy Azalea Hates Most Races According to her Tweets
Where to start with Iggy Azalea? It’s quite possible she’s made more racist and homophobic tweets than all other celebrities combined. Not only that, but it seemed like she revels in it and then goes out of her way to say she isn’t racist. This seems to be at odds with the idea that she once tweeted, “Just saw 5 black men get arrested out the front of popeyes #damn #stereotypes”. It’s a little difficult to believe someone saying that and thinking it’s funny isn’t at least slightly racist. Not to mention that this isn’t some closed incident. She’s gone after Mexicans and Asians too.
6. Charlie Sheen Was #Winning on Twitter
Twitter didn’t ruin Charlie Sheen’s life, but it did help the brouhaha of his public meltdown die down. Due to all the buzz, Charlie appeared on numerous television shows to talk about the meltdown (while still in the throes of said meltdown) and even put together a touring stage show to showcase his asinine behaviour. While doing this, Sheen went on long, incoherent rants about how he was winning his custody battle for his twin sons (he wasn’t), and that he had the blood of a tiger. Sheen was like a train wreck that we couldn’t stop watching. During all this, Sheen started a Twitter account. Before he even tweeted the account nabbed 60,000 followers and a clout score of 57.
Once on Twitter, Sheen did more of the same and used the popular hashtags surrounding him to increase his infamy. It all eventually became too much, things got a little sad, and the internet moved on.
5. Nir Rosen Thinks Sexual Assault and Violence is Hilarious
Imagine you’re a writer and director. You’re a fellow at NYU. You’ve just heard that news correspondent Lara Logan has been beaten and sexually assaulted while on assignment in Egypt. You grab your smart phone. You open up Twitter, ready to tackle this subject. Most of us would tweet something like “thoughts and prayers” to the news correspondent or comment on how horrendous and unacceptable the attack is. That’s what most of us would do in this position. Apparently Nir Rosen isn’t most of us.
It all started when Rosen started tweeting jokes that Lara Logan was “trying to outdo Anderson Cooper”. Rosen deleted the tweet but the damage was done. He quickly apologized, but then began calling Logan a “war monger” immediately after. Needless to say, it ruined his career and Rosen and NYU went their separate ways.
4. Nicole Crowther Revealed A Major Spoiler From Glee
Nicole Crowther was just trying to get into show business. She’d appeared as an extra on Glee a number of times before she slipped up and decided to tweet out a major spoiler concerning who would be come prom king and prom queen for an upcoming prom night episode. Crowther tried to tweet the spoiler in code, but initializing character names and referring to prom king and prom queen to ‘pk’ and ‘pq’ wasn’t exactly a tough code to crack. This was kind of a big deal as a gay couple was going to be crowned king and queen in the episode.
The creator of Glee, Brad Falchuk, pulled a page out of the Cella fiasco book and essentially fired Crowther over Twitter. He even told her, “hope you’re qualified to do something besides work in entertainment”.
3. Mike Bacsik And His “Dirty Mexicans” Tweet
Mike Bacsik wasn’t exactly known as the greatest MLB player around. He is most well known as the guy who gave up a record breaking home run to Barry Bonds. After his retirement from baseball, Bacsik went into sports radio as a producer/personality in Dallas.
After a basketball player on the Dallas Mavericks was ejected for tackling a player on the San Antonio Spurs, Bacsik tweeted, “Congrats to all the dirty mexicans in San Antonio”.
Once the tweet hit the news and went national, the Dallas radio station KTCK decided it had to severe ties.
Bacsik is one of the few on this list who owned up to what he did. He said his sarcasm couldn’t be read on Twitter. He was aware he had to keep his guard up using social media and he let that guard down. In statements made after the incident, Bacsik seemed understanding of KTCK’s decision to let him go.
2. Walter Palmer Killed Cecil The Lion
You may not remember Walter Palmer. We tend to move through our outrage pretty quickly here on the Ye Olde Internete. You probably do remember Cecil the Lion though. Palmer was the dentist that killed Cecil in a game reserve. He took the brunt of our collective hate for a week after being quickly forgotten – as is usually the case.
This Twitter situation is a little different. A fake Twitter account acting as River Bluff Dental (and even seemed to be coming from River Bluff Dental) began tweeting jokes like “Hakuna Matata, right? Right?” and “We’d be lion if we said we weren’t a little bummed by all the negative tweets coming our way.”
Because the account seemed to actually be coming from Palmer’s practice, there was no reason to believe Palmer wasn’t trying to brush things under the rug with humour. While it wasn’t Palmer, there was no use telling the mob that. The damage was done. It added more fuel to the fire and Palmer had to shut his practice down for several weeks.
1. Alicia Ann Lynch Dressed Up As A Victim of the Boston Marathon Bombing
Another regular, everyday person who faced some almost life ruining consequences thanks to a tasteless tweet and the mob mentality was Alicia Ann Lynch. Lynch thought her Halloween costume was just so incredibly clever and down right hilarious that she had to share it on Twitter. Alicia’s costume? A marathon runner covered in blood. She was supposed to be a victim from the Boston Marathon bombing that happened in April of 2013. What a terrible idea. She even pointed out her costume was offensive and used the hashtag, #toosoon.
Lynch received countless threats of death and rape. Her parents were threatened with death. Her place of employment fired her. Lynch had made the mistake of posting her ID online, so people began sending her things in the mail. Nude photos were leaked, though she had already posted them herself on Tumblr. Take note of those last two items. The nude photos and address had initially been posted by Lynch herself. All it took was some digging into her social media accounts. What happened to Lynch should be a lesson to all of us: Don’t be naive. Watch what you post.
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