Last night an offensive tweet from a PR executive on her way to Africa sparked a social media firestorm. By the time she landed, her employer, Barry Diller's IAC, had deleted her from the company website. Twitter may limit you to 140 characters, but that’s more than enough room to stick your foot in your mouth.
1. Taylor Palmisano
Image: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In 2011, Taylor Palmisano—@itstaytime, “Majoring in Finance with an emphasis in Taynomics”—went on a series of racist Twitter rants. Sometime between now and then, she landed a job as deputy finance director for the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. You know where this is headed, of course; the terrible tweets were discovered and Palmisano was promptly booted from the position. Not helping her case: She recently sent a roundly mocked holiday letter to Walker supporters urging them to forego toys for the kids this year and instead donate to the Walker campaign, which is “the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of.”
2. Jofi Joseph
Think that tweeting under an alias will allow you to rant about your job under a cloak of anonymity? Think again. In October, Jofi Joseph, a director at the National Security Staff at the White House, was outed as the man behind @natsecwonk, a gossipy account dedicated to skewering White House officials. Joseph was removed from his job after an elaborate sting by co-workers uncovered that he was responsible for tweets such as “Vitriol against @arifleischer entirely justified. He married a woman a decade younger than him—and she's as ugly as he is! #jackass” and “Has rich kid Tagg Romney ever even been in a fight? [...] He needs to tell his mom to lose about 15 pounds.”
3. Nicole Crowther
Image: Huffington Post
Hell hath no fury like Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk scorned. When Glee extra Nicole Crowther tweeted a spoiler of a pivotal scene, series co-creator Falchuk responded with, “hope you’re qualified to work in something besides entertainment,” and he wasn’t kidding. The actress later said she was suspended from multiple casting agencies for weeks, and the agency that does the casting for Glee account told her that she’d never again work for any show they handle.
4. Sunith Baheerathan
Bad idea: Tweeting about drug deals. Worse idea: Tweeting about making drug deals at work. Worst idea: Tweeting your specific work location so cops can find you and you lose your job. That’s essentially what happened to Sunith Baheerathan, a worker at Mr. Lube in Vaughn, near Toronto. Not long after he tweeted “Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop? Come to Keele/Langstaff Mr. Lube, need a spliff,” local police happened across Baheerathan’s not-so-coded message. Const. Blair McQuillan of York Regional Police responded with, “Awesome! Can we come too?” and notified Mr. Lube of the potential drug exchange. Baheerathan was fired.
5. Two Firefighters
Also in the Toronto area, two firefighters were dismissed after posting sexist comments to their Twitter accounts earlier this year. What kind of sexist comments, you ask? Here are a couple of gems:
"Reject a woman and she will never let it go. One of the many defects of their kind. Also weak arms."
"Would swat [sic] her in the back of the head been considered abuse or a way to reset the brain?"
6. Phil Hardy
When your job is to run a corporate or professional Twitter account, it’s pretty easy to forget to log out of the work account and into your personal account before making witty quips and observations. Phil Hardy discovered this for himself after tweeting personal thoughts under Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador’s name. “Me likey Broke Girls,” he wrote, referring to the Kat Dennings comedy on CBS. The Tweet was only up for 14 seconds before Hardy realized his mistake, but the damage was done, and Labrador fired him.
7. Gene Morphis
Like many people, Gene Morphis took to social media to vent about his job. Unlike many people, Morphis was the CFO of Francesca’s Holdings Corp at the time, proving that even high ranking corporate officers aren’t immune to inadvisable Twitter rants. Morphis was fired after tweeting things such as “Cramming for earnings call like a final. I thought I had outgrown that...” and “Earnings released. Conference call completed. How do you like me now Mr. Shorty?"
8. Carly McKinney
Unless you’re a Kardashian, tweeting pictures of your scantily-clad self has the potential to be a career-ender. But 23-year-old former high school teacher Carly McKinney can top that: Not only did she tweet NSFW pictures of herself, she was often smoking pot in the photos. She also referred to one of her 10th-grade students as “jailbait” and admitted that she was high while grading papers. Though she claimed it was a parody account, McKinney was fired.
9. Gilbert Gottfried
Image: Huffington Post
Just in case you missed the whole uproar the first time around, Gilbert Gottfried made a series of insensitive jokes about the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Aflac certainly didn't find them funny—Gottfried provided the voice of the Aflac duck before the insurance company caught wind of his caustic comments, which is when they promptly fired him from the gig. "Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” said the company's chief marketing officer.
10. Catherine Deveny
Gilbert certainly isn't the first comedian to make a tasteless tweet and pay the price. Australian comedian Catherine Deveny let loose with a few offensive tweets in 2010, starting with Anzac Day in April, then moving on to unlikely target 12-year-old Bindi Irwin. "I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid," Deveny tweeted. She was fired from her job as columnist for The Age magazine two days later.
11. Grad Student "Cisco Fatty"
Cisco Fatty is one of the first incidents of tweeting-before-thinking resulting in a pink slip—in this instance, before the employee had even officially started. Upon getting a job offer, a grad student tweeted, "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Her heart probably dropped right out of her chest when she got this response: "Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web."
Thanks in part to others who were outraged at her lack of gratitude, her identity was discovered and the job offer was rescinded. Citizens of the Internet have since recounted the tale, referring to the sacked student as "Cisco Fatty."
12. Tweeter for Chrysler
After a long and storied history of sordid tweets like "Good morning. How was everyone's weekend?" and "If you were rolling up to the red carpet, what Chrysler vehicle would you like to be stepping out of?", the official Chrysler account said, "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive." Turns out the guy who was tweeting for the company thought he was signed into his own account.
13. A Los Angeles Waiter
I'm sure waitstaff in the L.A. area could tell all kinds of horror stories about the thoughtless celebrities they encounter, but perhaps it's best not to do it in such a public forum. When a waiter at Barney Greengrass was stiffed on a tip from actress Jane Adams, he complained about it via Twitter. She somehow came across it and returned to the restaurant a month later, bearing $3 and a printout of the tweet sullying her name. The waiter was fired.
14. Mike Bacsik
Mike Bacsik, a former MLB pitcher, was working for Dallas radio station The Ticket when he tweeted this comment about the San Antonio Spurs' win against the Mavericks: "Congrats to all the dirty Mexicans in San Antonio." Although he tweeted an apology for his racist remarks the next day—a tactic Gilbert Gottfried also tried—the damage was done and he was fired from The Ticket.
15. Octavia Nasr
Even CNN analysts make mistakes. Octavia Nasr was CNN's Senior Editor of Mideast affairs until this tweet in July 2010: "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." CNN fired her, concerned that the statement had compromised her credibility.
16. California Pizza Kitchen Employee
When one California Pizza Kitchen employee expressed his unhappiness with the chain's new uniforms—"@calpizzakitchen black button ups are the lamest s*** ever!!! #CaliporniaSkeetzaKitchen"—the company tracked him down and fired him. The thing is, he's a YouTube user with a pretty huge following, so you can guess what he did. Check out his video retort here.
This post originally appeared a few weeks ago, after this happened.