This just in, posting a controversial “take” on social media could cost you your job. By now, this should not need to be said, but, once again, we have prime examples of how and why this can happen. Recently, a TV writer and an NBA play-by-play announcer were sent packing due to errant posts on social media.
Veteran TV writer Craig Gore, who has been a staple in the writers’ room for several popular programs and had been tapped to join the team on a new Law & Order spinoff, lost that opportunity due to his controversial Facebook posts. The photos and comments were in reference to protests happening, to which Gore responded with expletive-laden comments and photos holding a firearm. In one of these posts, Gore threatened to “shoot looters” according to media reports about the incident.
Dick Wolf, who created the Law & Order franchise, did not give Gore a second chance. He was fired immediately. Wolf said, “I will not tolerate this conduct, especially during our hour of national grief…”
Meanwhile, Grant Napear, a longtime announcer for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings franchise, was fired from his talk radio gig after tweets directed at former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins. Napear also resigned from the Kings’ broadcast team. Speaking about the tweets, Bonneville International, which owns the radio station that fired Napear, said, “The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive…”
For his part, Napear appeared to own his mistake, saying later that, “I’ve been doing more listening than talking the past few days… I believe the past few days will change this country for the better…”
These incidents serve to highlight the fact that a single quote or comment that might seem like a good idea at the time or that the poster feels should be defined as innocuous by the context could very well have longstanding consequences. The lesson, then, is not to allow a momentary lapse in judgement to damage a brand or kill a career. When in doubt, don’t post or tweet. A few likes on social media is not worth losing one’s livelihood.
Nor is it worth it for a brand to lose customers because of a tweet or post that is “not intended” to be offensive or hurtful. Intent is practically irrelevant when the comment in question is causing a brand to lose reputation or a business to lose customers. Before a comment or a tweet is posted, consider the context. Think about how people will respond, especially if the comment is singled out, shared without context, as is so often the case in similar situations.
Sometimes, the best move is to stay silent. Sure, a person may wish to offer an opinion or state a perspective they feel is underrepresented… but, before they do, they should consider the cost.