Ever since the dawn of modern society, people have been held responsible for their words. If you were to say the king is a slob and he heard about it, consider yourself hanged. If your grandma overheard your grandpa saying that women are stupid, he was probably going to sleep on the couch for a good couple of weeks. But, the difference between back then and now is that in this day and age, people share their thoughts not only with the ones they know and trust, but with the whole damn world.
If you were to say something really stupid let’s say 50 years ago, there would probably be less than 5 people that heard it. Today, on the other hand, you can post one Tweet in the morning, and before lunch break, it has become viral and has totally ruined your whole life. That is the blessing and the curse of social media. If you’re smart you can share your ideas (and selfies) and build a massive following; but if you’re not, it can ruin your life. It can even get you arrested.
Now, we’re not saying that Twitter is what got these people in trouble. For the most part, they really needed to be taught a lesson. Some of their posts were simply vile, and I definitely suggest that some of them should get a mental checkup. Others just said the wrong thing at the wrong time. But it’s up to you to decide if they were just unfortunate or they got what they deserved.
15. When You Get Way Too Heated Up At The Ball Game
This Tweet got former left-handed pitcher Mike Bacsik, fired from his job as a radio producer at KTKC, a Dallas radio station. The outrageous statement was posted during Game 5 of the Dallas Mavericks-San Antonio Spurs series, after Mavericks’ Eduardo Najera tackled Manu Ginobili and was ejected. At first, the radio station only suspended him indefinitely, but when his hateful Tweet went on national television, they decided to cut ties with him. Bacsik has since apologized thoroughly for his statement and found a new job co-hosting a radio program for another station. He still uses Twitter, but you can bet he chooses his words very carefully now.
14. When You Say Anything About A “Bomb”
This one is more of a funny misunderstanding. The Tweet comes from an Australian teenage boy, who, in anticipation of Pink‘s performance at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne decided to post this message, referencing the singer’s hit song “Timebomb.” Too bad he didn’t put the “Time” in, because the venue security took his Tweet in the most literal way possible, and managed to find him in the 12,000 people crowd using his Twitter picture. Subsequently, he was arrested by the police and his father had to drive 3 hours from their home to the venue that night to collect his son. Also, he was charged with creating a public nuisance and behaving in a threatening manner. Of course, it’s clear that he didn’t have any of the intentions that they thought he might have, but the boy paid the price of his poor judgement and learned a lesson he will never forget: words can sometimes blow up just like bombs.
13. You Can Even Get Kicked Out Of The Olympics
All the years of hard work and dedication were thrown out the window when Greek triple jumper, Voula Papachristou, Tweeted this racist message ahead of the London 2012 Games. Her country’s Olympic Committee didn’t care a whole lot about her apology and decided to cut her from the team as they deemed her behavior “against the Olympic spirit.” Also, it seems that her racist thoughts were not a one-time mistake, as she previously expressed her support for Golden Dawn, a Greek far-right political party. She may be sorry now, but she missed a huge moment in her career for a few “unthoughtful” words.
12. It May Not Seem Like A Joke To Everyone
Having your flight cancelled due to bad weather isn’t pleasant in any way imaginable, and many of us feel the need to express our frustration online when something like this occurs. That’s exactly what Paul Chambers, a British accountant, did after his flight from Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was cancelled, posting this Tweet in the heat of the moment: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” From this little incident started a whole lot of trouble. Paul was charged with sending a public message of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and he was found guilty as a result. He lost the appeal in what quickly became a nationwide sensation, dubbed #TwitterJokeTrial, and eventually won his second High Court appeal, after 2 whole nightmarish years. Even though he was eventually acquitted, he lost his job quickly after his first conviction and his life will definitely never be the same. Blame it all on THAT joke…err, Tweet!
11. When You Party Harder Than Your Own Students
This 23-year-old Math teacher shared a little too much of her personal life on her Twitter page. As a result, she was suspended from her job indefinitely. Also, another one of her Tweets, in which she was claiming to have brought weed in the school premises, sparked an investigation. The raunchy teacher also posted half-naked photos of herself and supposedly referred to her students as “jail bait.” One of her more revealing photos was even re-tweeted by DJ Diplo to promote one of his singles. The school’s officials stated that her suspension was not a punishment, given that for the most part, her photos and Tweets are covered by the right to free speech; but it is a routine measure due to the fact that she is under investigation for possession of drugs on the school premises.
10. The President Doesn’t Like Big Mouths
Jofi Joseph is a former White House national security staffer under the Obama administration, better know by his Twitter alias @NatSecWonk. When his online identity was revealed, he was quickly removed from his job, given the fact that most of his Tweets were outright hateful—from making fun of Liz Cheney’s weight to calling a former Bush aide a “dumb blonde airhead.” After all the damage was done, he issued an apology to all the people he attacked in his Tweets and took responsibility for everything that has happened. He has since deleted the infamous Twitter account but I don’t think this little incident will sit good on his resume.
9. You Can Never Joke About Assassinating The President
21-year-old Donte Jamar Sims from North Carolina was picked up by the secret service after posting a series of Tweets in which he suggested he was planning to assassinate president Barack Obama one day before the Democratic National Convention was set to open in Charlotte, near his home. In his first rant, he compared himself to Lee Harvey Oswald, the man responsible for the death of President John F. Kennedy. This Tweet was followed later with a more explicit threat—”Well Ima Assassinate president Obama this evening !…Gotta get this monkey off my chest while he’s in town -_-.” While in police custody, he wrote an apology letter, claiming he was high at the time that he Tweeted the threats. Although he blatantly expressed his hatred for the President, the self-proclaimed #1 Lupe Fiasco fan doesn’t seem to feel the same way about the First Lady, whom he described as “sexy as Hell” in a separate Tweet.
8. If You Go Against The Cops, They’ll Come For You
Protesters were heating up in Pittsburgh ahead of the G20 Summit in 2009, a meeting of the leaders of 20 rich and developing nations, when New Yorker Elliot Madison went on Twitter to help the illegal street movement by informing them of police whereabouts and actions. Later that day, he was picked up by officers from a local motel where he was staying, and charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution and criminal use of communication facility. This move by law enforcement was condemned by rights activists as an unlawful retaliation, given the fact that all he really did was take publicly available information and shared it with other people. Even if his arrest might’ve been unjustified, he definitely won’t go against the cops again anytime soon.
7. Bieber’s Manager Got Busted For NOT Tweeting
Well, you know, the Bieber fever is not what it used to be these days. Back in 2009, when Justin announced on his social media accounts that he would be signing autographs at a mall in Long Island, the fans frenzy got so out of control that it ended with 5 people being sent to the hospital. When things just started to get out of control, the police asked James Roppo, a senior VP of Island Def Jam Records, to send out a Tweet asking the overly hyped fans to leave the mall, as the police decided to not allow Justin to make his long-awaited appearance. Mr. Roppo did not follow the police’s instructions and was later charged with a series of misdemeanors, including endangering the welfare of children. The Tweets were finally sent out by Bieber’s manager, Scott Braun, hours after the police requested it. When contacted, he defended himself saying that he was in a meeting and did not have access to his phone. Braun was also arrested after this incident, but he made a deal, the record label pleading guilty and paying a fine of $8,000.
6. Sometimes They Don’t Get Arrested In Time
Although some of these threats are vicious and hateful, most are just rants that are never intended to be put into action. Not the same thing can be said about Zachary Penton, a 21-year-old from Arizona who, a few days after sending this deranged Tweet, made good on his threat and fatally shot his roommate after a heated argument. He himself called the police and confessed to the murder. Previously, he had also Tweeted about how easy it was to buy a gun. In addition, an official with the Gilbert Police Department said that they were aware of Mr. Penton’s previous online activity. This incident proves that it is better for law enforcement to deem any threat as credible, because no matter how ridiculous it might sound, they could prevent tragic events like this one.
5. Don’t Start A Fire You Can’t Put Out
Matt Bowman and two other colleagues from the Toronto Fire Department were terminated (so we don’t say fired) from their jobs after a series of sexist Tweets were sent from their personal accounts. Their grossly inappropriate comments included “the way to a woman’s heart is through an*l” and “would swat her in the back of the head been considered abuse or a way to reset the brain?” After a local newspaper published the offensive Tweets in a story about attempts by The Toronto Fire Department to recruit more women and visible minorities, the three former firefighters were quickly fired and a spokesman stated that: “Toronto Fire Services cannot condone such behaviour”.
4. “I Got Fired Over Twitter”
After getting a job at a franchise pizza restaurant, a Texas teenage girl known on Twitter as Cella went online to express how she felt about her new employer in a rather unthoughtful Tweet—“Ew I start this f*** a** job tomorrow.” Of course, how could she know that her Tweet would get all the way to her new boss, Robert Waple. Another employee of the restaurant showed Robert the post and he decided to respond to Cella directly on Twitter. Long story short, she was fired in a very public manner before she could even start working.
3. It Is One Thing To Do It, But To Post It On Twitter…
This teenager shows that there is truly no limit to how stupid people can be on social media. Not only that he did something extremely gross, pissing on an order of nachos at the Taco Bell restaurant where he worked, but he took a photo of his “accomplishment” and Tweeted it for the whole world to see. The teenager, known on Twitter as @cameronisonfire, got immediately suspended from his job, and was fired shortly after. His despicable act even caught the attention of hacker group, Anonymous, as they have released a video on YouTube filled with Cameron’s personal information. Although losing his Taco Bell job probably wasn’t such a big deal, he definitely made a fool of himself in front of millions of people and will probably have a hard time finding anyone willing to hire him.
2. You Can Even Do Real Jail Time
Jarvis Britton, a 28-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama was sentenced to 3 years of supervised probation after sending a series of Tweets in which he talked about assassinating President Obama and also encouraging others to do so by putting cyanide in his drinks. He urged members of the terrorist group F.E.A.R. (which stands for Forever Enduring Always Ready) to join him and “do the job.” During his probation, he failed one of his mandatory drug tests for marijuana and was sentenced to 1 year in federal prison. Guess you could say that it’s a pretty steep punishment for a few unsubstantiated threats, but people like him can definitely get dangerous as they become more invested into their twisted ideologies.
This unfortunate Tweet transformed Justine Sacco’s life probably more than anything else she ever did. She posted it before boarding her 11-hour flight from London to Cape Town. While she was up in the air, unable to access the Internet, her distasteful joke was re-tweeted over 2,000 times and the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet became trending on Twitter. As soon as she landed and found out what happened during her flight, she deleted the offending Tweet and also her Twitter account soon after. But there was no going back, as her story became international news, and she was soon fired from her job as a PR Executive at New York-based Internet company IAC. Of course, there are probably thousands of people making stupid and offensive remarks on Twitter every day, and not suffering any kind of repercussions, but it is good to keep in mind that anyone’s unthoughtful words can become known to millions and affect their lives in ways they can’t even begin to imagine.