Yesterday was the worst Twitter day of all time.
Or at least the worst that I remember.
Some lady no one had ever heard of and who had about 100 followers at the time sent the Tweet above.
The tweet went viral. Some guy at Gawker is claiming credit for finding it, although a lot of people credit the big viral boost to someone at Buzzfeed who has over 100,000 followers:
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) December 21, 2013
Whoever started it, plenty of websites picked up on it and ran with it to feed the mob and not miss out on clicks and eyeballs.
By the time I saw it, long after she became a hunted woman, my first impression was similar to that of John Nolte at Breitbart.com: Looks like the type of “white privilege” claptrap we read almost weekly at Salon.com or Slate.com. Some liberal white person coming to grips with her privilege and wanting the whole world to know about it.
I wasn’t the only one thinking that was at least a possibility.
@BuzzFeedAndrew Is it too much to hope that she's self-consciously mocking white privilege?
— Jim Maltese (@JimMaltese) December 20, 2013
Or maybe it was, “just kidding,” a joke that didn’t work.
Racist? You’d need to know a lot more. Maybe shoot her a tweet back and ask what she meant, or look her up and send her an email before proclaiming her to be a racist.
But no one could do that. She was on an airplane to visit her native South Africa. For 11 hours. And in those 11 hours she became a hated and hunted woman.
Buzzfeed, ahem, tracked all the gory details of the assault, from start to firing, Internet Erupts After PR Woman For Media Firm Tweets A “Joke” About Getting AIDS In Africa.
It was so big, even the NY Times got in on the coverage: A Twitter Message About AIDS, Followed by a Firing.
For a more critical view of the hatefest, you can read these links:
- How The Politically Correct Twitter Police Attacked One Of Their Own Over An Off-Color Joke
- Buzzfeed Gets Results: Random Person No One Ever Heard Of May Be Fired Because of Joke Tweet!
- Twitter Turns Ugly Over PR Person’s Idiotic Tweet
People tracked her flight, and even showed up at the airport in Johannesburg to photograph her:
Greg Gutfeld summed it up best:
This #HasJustineLandedYet proves one thing: humans never change. We love a good bloodbath.
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) December 21, 2013
When she landed she apologized for her own stupidity. She lost her job over it.
Why this woman in this way?
She was an executive, but not a public figure. She wasn’t a politician, or comedian, or actress. Her tweet wasn’t any worse than what one sees every minute on Twitter, not by a long shot.
We all highlight tweets from unknown non-public figures in the midst of some event, like a bombing or uprising. But something about this one was unsettling, targeted, obsessive, seeking to do damage to someone helpless to defend herself or cut short the outrage with a quick apology because she was in flight.
Why did so much of the Twittersphere quickly proclaim her a racist and go after her with such a blood lust?
Because it could.
She should have written it at Salon.com. No one would have noticed.DONATE
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