By: Abby Maxwell, Communications & Digital Strategy Chair
Most are aware by now that TMZ recently released a video of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancee and current wife Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator. The release of the video led the NFL to suspend Rice’s contract indefinitely. The couple is still currently together and Palmer has publicly defended her choice to stay with her husband.
“To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass [off] for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific” (E! News).
Palmer’s defense of Ray Rice has sparked a conversation among many activists against domestic abuse, including the Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed, created by survivor Beverly Gooden. It asks survivors of abuse to explain in 140 characters or less why they stayed in their abusive relationships. Some powerful examples include “I thought I wasn’t worthy of any other kind of love” and “He threatened to take my son, made me feel like I deserved it and made me feel ashamed when it happened.” This hashtag was making a strong case for the severity of domestic abuse as a societal issue.
That is, until DiGiorno Pizza contributed this tweet:
The tweet was quickly deleted and replaced by this:
A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) September 9, 2014
Regardless of whether the writer of the tweet was aware of the hashtag: to say bringing pizza into the conversation about domestic violence was inappropriate is an enormous understatement. This story is a textbook case of think, think, think before posting anything online.
As rising public relations professionals, we know that the importance of social media are constantly growing. Not only is it necessary to maintain a positive online presence, but it is also vital to remember that once something is posted on an online platform such as Twitter, it is there forever. Certainly nobody can forget Justine Sacco, former PR executive who infamously tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
Let this be a cautionary tale to all of us entering the world of social media and PR to proofread, edit, and think twice and twice again before we hit send, post, and share. Don’t let carelessness lead to a DiGiorno sized disaster.