Celebrity Social Media Faux Pas

Celebrity Social Media Faux Pas

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Weiner Documentary Trailer

From Playmates to A list actors, social media is a whole new way for celebrities to publicly make a mess of their image and potentially commit a crime. The instantaneous global distribution of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram make the use of these mediums a foreseeable minefield.

Recently the LAPD announced they are investigating Playboy Model Dani Mathers for posting a photo on Snapchat that appears to be of an older naked woman at the LA Fitness gym. The photo is paired side by side with a “selfie” of the 2015 Playmate of the Year covering her mouth. The photo is captioned, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” Read more about Dani Mathers here.

LA Fitness responded publicly to the Dani Mathers Snapchat post with a Twitter post, ironically utilizing the same type of instant mass social media communication platform to denounce the behavior. (See below).

Dani Mathers is not the first to have a post she intended to be private go public. Past celebrity public personas who have suffered public image crises as a result of social media include former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is now the star of a documentary about the Tweeted photo of his, let’s just say, last name.

Even when a celebrity intends it to be public it can go bad. Comedian Trevor Noah experienced a parsing of his Tweets that led to serious criticism.

The recent drama of Taylor Swift’s phone call being recorded by Kanye West–Swift has said without her permission–and posted online by West’s wife Kim Kardashian is another example of a celebrity’s use of social media that is damaging to image and potentially a legal liabilty. (Watch Darren Kavinoky talk about the Taylor Swift issue here on The Insider.) The decision to post the video by Kim Kardashian could lead to legal ramifications for her and her husband if a prosecutorial body chose to investigate, although Kavinoky tells BuzzFeed it is unlikely. Says Kavinoky, “They have real stuff to worry about.” [1]

Apology vs Hacked Excuse

In a video released on YouTube, Dani Mathers says the body shaming incident which involves a nude photo taken in a gymnasium locker room at L.A. Fitness is “not the type of person that I am.” She apologizes. Watch below.

Deleted Social Media Accounts
Dani Mathers initially seemed to have deleted her account but it is again visible with this last tweet from her two weeks ago apologizing for what she did being the last Tweet:

Twitter and social media platforms are a minefield of missteps for celebrities. What may seem like a reasonable response, a funny comment made to entertain friends, or a sarcastic remark made clearly in jest could be taken in a light hearted manner by one person; however, this same post may be offensive to another.

This leads into the difficult territory of the court of public opinion. Case in point is how Roland Martin of CNN was criticized when he was live tweeting during a Super Bowl. In February of 2012, the CNN on-air personality was suspended from CNN after tweeting more than one offensive tweets.

Per the One Minute News report by Jennifer Martin, Roland Martin tweeted, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Becham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” and “Ain’t no real brus going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear! #superbowl.” In addition, Roland Martin also commented on a player who arrived in a pink suit tweeting, “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass.”[2]

CNN issued a statement against the tweets and Roland Martin was suspended. A year later, the newscaster let Roland Martin go, with his last date on air April 6, 2013. Apparently the (then) new CNN President Jeff Zucker chose not to renew Martin’s contract.[3]

1. Rosenbaum, Claudia. (Jul. 18, 2016). “Let’s Break Down The Criminal Liability Kim And Kanye Could Face Over The Taylor Swift Recording.” BuzzFeed News. https://www.buzzfeed.com/claudiarosenbaum/kim-kardashian-and-kayne-west-privacy-laws?utm_term=.oc75dWkEo#.fiGXKmq08

2. Martin, Jennifer. (February 9, 2012). “CNN Journalist Fired for Super Bowl Tweets.” One Minute News. Retrieved from YouTube https://youtu.be/TRSrBISuyxQ

3. Davis, Monique. (March 20, 2013). “CNN Fires News Anchor – Roland Martin Reacts.” Atlanta Black Star. Retrieved from http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/03/20/cnn-fires-news-anchor-roland-martin-reacts/.

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