If you haven’t learned by now, social media is not all that good and forgetting this piece of information can get you into deep trouble. Just ask a number of Canadian federal election candidates who made various incendiary remarks on Facebook and Twitter and had to drop out. Some people think their remarks on Twitter have no consequences, but as you will understand, they lead to dismissal, pink slips and ostracization from society.
See Also: 6 Emerging Social Media Jobs
We’ve had about a decade to compile offensive, insensitive and controversial remarks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and all of the other social media outlets that have popped up during this time. Whether it’s insults about your boss, or racist comments made about blacks, it seems a growing number of people are being discovered for who they are. This then leads to public firings.
Millennials have it the worst. They grew up with social media so it’s easier to find out if they’ve made questionable judgments on the microblogging website. Human resource departments are scrutinizing their candidates’ social media accounts, while newspapers are digging up old tweets and messages. Everyday, there seems to be at least one odd tweet that leads to resignations, firings, suspensions and so on.
Perhaps we just won’t learn and will continue doing it. We as human beings tend to make the same mistakes over and over again anyway. So think before you start posting vitriol stuff about anything and anyone
Here are fifteen outrageous social media posts that got people fired:
1. Public Relations Chief Justine Sacco | Twitter
One of the most famous cases of someone being fired for just one of their posts is PR specialist Justine Sacco. During a flight to South Africa, Sacco tweeted: "Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!" After she made this post on Twitter, she didn’t check her social network account until she landed; by then her post had gone viral.
Result: She was fired from IAC for expressing poor judgment on social media.
2. Toronto Firefighter Matt Bowman | Twitter
A lot of firefighters should be celebrated for some of the hard and dangerous work they do each day. But what happens if a certain firefighter turns out to be a sexist individual? This question came up when a Toronto firefighter by the name of Matt Bowman tweeted: "I’d never let a woman kick my ass. If she tried I’d be like HEY! You get your b—- ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie.”
Result: He was dismissed from his post. He challenged the decision, but it was upheld.
3. Television Host Damian Goddard | Twitter
In 2011, Rogers Sportsnet host Damian Goddard showcased his support for hockey agent Todd Reynold’s anti-gay marriage stance. He tweeted: "I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage."
Result: After this was made public, the Canadian telecommunications titan fired Goddard and tweeted: "Today’s tweet from Damian Goddard does not reflect the views of Rogers Sportsnet."
4. Childcare Employee Kaitlyn Walls | Facebook
If you hold a certain amount of disdain for children, or you just don’t like being around them, then perhaps you shouldn’t get a job working at a childcare center. This is what happened to Kaitlyn Walls, a single mother who vented on Facebook that "I start my new job today but I absolutely hate working at daycares." She added that she dislikes "being around a lot of kids."
Result: Once the childcare business found out about these comments she was let go. Indeed, nobody wants their kids to be taken care of by someone who hates them.
5. Unnamed Taco Bell Employee | Facebook & Twitter
One young man working at Taco Bell thought he was being cool by taking a photo of himself urinating on an order of Nachos Bell Grande. He shared these photos on Facebook and Twitter.
Result: Taco Bell fired him immediately upon discovery of the photos.
6. Math Teacher Carly McKinney | Twitter
A teacher that likes to smoke marijuana and sit naked in her vehicle. That’s how you could describe 10th grade mathematics teacher Carly McKinney. She tweeted a photo of herself with the words "naked, wet and stoned." This upset a lot of parents when this was passed around.
Result: She was dismissed by the school, though some argued it was unfair because she didn’t do anything nefarious. The argument was that teachers need to be held to a higher standard than others. Point taken.
7. HSBC Employees | Instagram
ISIS is constantly in the news because of the terrorist organization’s regular hostage takings and beheadings. Earlier this year, six HSBC bankers in Birmingham, England took a photo portraying themselves as ISIS terrorists and holding a mock beheading of one of their co-workers dressed in an orange jumpsuit. The footage was recorded and shared on Instagram.
Result: They were fired as soon as the imagery began to be circulated. The employees defended themselves by arguing that it was part of a teamwork exercise. The excuse didn’t hold any water.
8. Celebrity Chef Paula Deen's Social Media Manager | Twitter
What can one say about celebrity television chef Paula Deen? She was one of the most popular and successful cooks in the United States. That was until her racist past came to light. She lost various lucrative deals and sponsorships with Food Network, Caesars Entertainment, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Target, Wal-Mart and Smithfield Foods when it was found out.
It wasn’t the end. Her social media manager posted a photo of Deen and her son Bobby dressed as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from "I Love Lucy!" Bobby had darkened his skin. This drew the ire of many.
Result: The social media manager was immediately fired. Deen couldn’t take another scandal.
9. Bartender Jessica Harr | Facebook
Chicago bartender Jessica Harr appears to not like black people. She expressed her thoughts on Facebook about black employees. She used a number of racial slurs and insults like "apes" when talking about blacks. Here are her comments: "wow so insane how one race of people can be so f---ing incompetent and disgusting…. they make everything dirty ignorant and cant act like normal human beings." She added: "Even when theyre in their 40’s they cant act intelligent. and they wonder why they cant find jobs?!?! Id never fucking hire one either."
Result: She was given the pink slip for her racist rant.
10. Congressman Anthony Weiner | Twitter
Who could ever forget about former New York Democratic Congressman and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner for his, er, racy past? He provided late night talk show hosts with so much fodder and material. Now known as Weinergate, Weiner had sent a 21-year-old woman links on Twitter to a sexually suggestive picture. A couple of years later, Weiner sent more naked pictures and sexted with a few other young women.
Result: He initially denied the reports, but then he admitted it and resigned from Congress. He later ran for mayor of New York City, but then had to leave the race because it was discovered he was still sexting with women. His wife is now working in the Hillary Clinton campaign.
11. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried | Twitter
Although comedians are expected to be controversial and insensitive at times since it’s the nature of their job, comedians often get into hot water for their jokes. Take the case of legendary comic Gilbert Gottfried, who in 2011 made jokes about the Japanese tsunami.
He tweeted: "I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ’is there a school in this area.’ She said ’not now, but just wait.’" He also tweeted: "Japan called me. They said ’maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here, they’re all sinking.’" Again he tweeted: "I just split up with my Japanese girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ’They’ll be another one floating by any minute now."
Result: Just one hour after the jokes were made on his Twitter account, insurance juggernaut Aflac announced that Gottfried had been fired from his position. Wow! In 60 minutes your life can change as a result of some tweets.
12. Sports Analyst Curt Schilling | Twitter
Legendary Boston Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling, was heroic when he came to the defence of his daughter after a bunch of jerks made derogatory comments about her. The men were later fired. But then Schilling got into trouble as well. The ESPN analyst posted a photo on his Twitter account that said: "It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” He added: "The math is staggering when you get to true #’s."
Result: ESPN suspended Schilling and issued this statement: "Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration."
13. Hockey Coach Christopher Maximilian Sandau | Facebook
It turned out that North Delta Minor Hockey Association (NDMHA) coach Christopher Maximilian is a neo-Nazi. It was reported that he posted an array of Nazi propaganda on his Facebook that featured Adolf Hitler, swastikas and comments about how the Holocaust didn’t happen.
Result: He lost his job. Sandau complained he was "treated unfairly" and claimed that he was just a "history buff." It’s now proven that he is full-blown Nazi on Facebook and Twitter.
14. Unnamed Houston Hospital Employee | Facebook
The Ferguson, Missouri police killing of Michael Brown caused a tidal wave of media coverage, debates and viewpoints. It also prompted one Houston hospital employee to urge police to shoot black people. She wrote on Facebook: "The police need to just start mowing them down with machine guns, purge them."
Result: The hospital was alerted by members of the general public and subsequently fired her.
15. Mr. Lube Employee Sunith Baheerathan | Twitter
Some people just need their weed, including a Toronto Mr. Lube employee named Sunith Baheerathan. He attempted to use Twitter to find a pot dealer and have it delivered. He tweeted: "Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop? Come to Keele/Langstaff Mr. Lube, need a spliff.” The York Regional Police noticed the tweet and reposted it on their own account.
Result: The company fired Baheerathan in 2013.
These are all examples of why you should be careful before you post anything on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social network. A lot of these posts were simply dumb moves on the part of users. Some apologized and admitted their mistakes, while others just denied them. You may not think that stuff you post will be seen by anyone else, but they will, and you will likely pay for these acts down the road, or just minutes after you post it.
As you can see from the list above, the people in hot water vary from prominent politicians to bartenders, from legendary sports figures to a Taco Bell employee.
Have you ever been fired or suspended for something you posted on social media? Let us know in the comments section.