12 Horrendous Times People Have Been Fired Over Their Social Media
When social media is at its best — and it happens often, fortunately — it brings people together, educates the masses, and shares memorable examples of empathy and kindness.
Seriously, it can work wonders when used appropriately, but only in the right hands….
Like when there’s a campaign to raise awareness or money after a tragedy or when people bring positive attention to environmental relief efforts or mental illness. So, we’re not knocking social media entirely.
But when social media is at its worst, it’s a veritable cesspool of hatred, racism, fear-mongering, and sexism — a blazing garbage fire of humanity’s dark side. Between tweets of bullying and ridicule and forums filled with evil ideas, it’s hard to know whether social media is good or bad for us and if we should be using it that often.
Especially if you’re the kind of person who can’t figure out how to behave properly on the world wide interwebs, especially if you have a, you know, reputation, or if you represent, you know, a freaking company or organization. In short — if you can’t stop being a horrible person, then maybe you should try keeping your social media accounts free from hate speech and terrible thoughts. Social media isn’t really a private space, technically; what you post has an effect on others. Period.
But can you really get fired from using it? Oh, yeah.
According to career site The Muse, “Yes, even a Snapchat or Instagram post that seems innocuous could be grounds for your dismissal.” This means that you’ll want to ensure your accounts are private — or scrub anything from, say, your drunken college days, that might be offensive, immature, or out of alignment with your professional character.
Let’s take a look at (and learn from) a few people who lost their jobs due to tactless social media behavior (and even crappier personal values and ethics):
The racist who posted to Twitter before boarding a flight
….and was fired before even landing.
In 2013, a communications director — you’ll see how ironic this is — at a New York-based company tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” before boarding her flight to Cape Town. According to the Guardian, “During her long flight to South Africa, unbeknownst to her, she became an internet phenomenon – the offending remark was retweeted over 2,000 times.” More so, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet went viral. Although she apologized, she was canned — and rightfully so.
The HSBC employees who were fired…
…for pretending to film an “Islamic State-style execution” on their colleague.
In this extremely WTF situation, A group of HSBC bankers were fired for filming and sharing a fake execution video. In it, according to HuffPost, six hooded man in jumpsuits had their colleague kneel in from of the camera while holding a knife over his head. They also screamed, “Allahu Akbar” (God is great). If your jaw just dropped right now, you’re not alone. Seriously, just what are some people thinking? Obviously, these jerks were sacked. Hopefully, they’ve thought long and hard about their actions.
…who shared nearly-nude photos.
A high school math teacher (nicknamed, “Carly Crunk Bear” — we wonder why) got into hot water with her job after tweeting nearly-nude pics. But that’s not all. She also claimed she got high in the parking lot…of the school where she works. She wrote things like, “Naked. Wet. Stoned” and also — the real kicker here: “Watching a drug bust go down in the parking lot. It’s funny cuz I have weed in my car in the staff parking lot.” While a little weed never hurt anybody, tweeting something like this from where you work (with kids!) is just mindless.
The person who posted about how much they hate their job…
…before they even started it.
A would-be daycare worker posted to social media: “I start my new job today, but I absolutely hate working at daycare…” only to be fired before she even came to work. Sadly, she was a single mother and desperately needed the job to survive (like many of us). The lesson here: Just refrain from posting this sort of stuff. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
The guy who posted expletives…
….to his company’s Twitter account
This is a rookie mistake — and possibly something many of us have done or have come close to doing at one point or another. In this story, a Chrysler contractor posted to his company’s account the following: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.” A company’s spokesperson said, “We simply couldn’t tolerate any messaging — whether or not there was an obscenity — that was denigrating to Detroit.” The employee felt awful, but the deed was done.
The NAACP representative who was fired…
…for making racist remarks about multiple demographics
A business representative for the NAACP was recently fired from his state job after making a few anti-Semitic and racist social media posts. According to the Inquirer, the man stated that it was a “damn shame” that the U.S. was sending money to Israel in addition to making complaints about a former state Schools Development employee, Lizette-Delgado.
The Yelp employee who wrote a public letter…
…complaining about her job to her company’s CEO.
A woman in 2016 posted a public letter — on Medium — to the Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelmann. In it, she wrote, “80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?” And while we have major compassion for her story — and for the millions who exist on low wages — this letter didn’t get her a pay raise. She got sacked, although her letter brought up some great points.
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried joked about the 2011 tsunami in Japan…
…and guess what happened?
He was the voice for the Aflac commercials. As in he was the voice of the annoying duck. After tweeting a bunch of icky jokes (like, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them”) about the devastating 2011 tsunami in Japan (which saw 3,000 people dead), Aflac canned him.
The Taco Bell worker who pissed on the food…
…then put the video online
In 2012, a Taco Bell employee tweeting a pic of himself urinating on a plate of freaking nachos. First of all, who does this? Second of all, who takes a picture of this? Thirdly, WHY would you share this? Obviously, the universe was totally outraged (what’s with people putting their bodily fluids on things?!) and the guy was fired. He then tweeted, “I pissed on them where nobody could see, in private, an [sic] I threw them away. There’s literally nothing they can do. Fire me. I don’t care.” He then claimed, “There are no laws saying what you can and cannot piss upon.” Yikes.
The Glee Extra who couldn’t keep her mouth shut…
…and tweeted the show’s spoilers.
Seriously, this is ridiculous. A Glee extra tweeted spoilers about the show in 2011, prompting Glee’s co-creator Brad Falchuk to respond, “Hope you’re qualified to do something besides work in entertainment…Who are you to spoil something talented people have spent months to create?” And he’s not wrong. Not only was her tweet unprofessional, but it was also straight-up immature. Wonder what she’s doing now…
The BBC broadcaster who tweeted about the royal baby’s birth…
…in the worst of ways.
After Meghan and Harry’s baby was born, the broadcaster tweeted a black and white photo which depicted a man and a woman holding hands with a chimpanzee in a suit and top hat. The caption? “Royal baby leaves hospital.” Just, WHY? Although the man claimed it was a “joke” about “Royals vs. circus animals in posh clothes,” people thought the tweet was racist and he was let go.
The cop who recorded a Vine…
…in which he confessed to ‘stealing cocaine.’
OK. This one is just a bonus. The guy wasn’t fired, but he was suspended without pay for posting to an account called Angry Cops, which is just a place for cops…to rant. In it, he states he stole the cocaine after writing, “2 #idiots #overdose WHEN THEY ARE INSIDE #DRUG #COURT!!!!! What the crap? #firefighter #cops #ems #justsayno kids.” Not cool, dude.
Is anyone searching for a job out there? Let’s talk about social media usage.
Employers do social media checks these days.
Look, we think there ought to be a separation between who you are at work and who you are in your private life. In many ways, this divide is both natural and healthy! Everyone presents a “version” of themselves at the office! Unfortunately (or fortunately — in the case of people who are truly terrible), employers can do checks on applicants, according to
In fact, years’ worth of your social media history can be used against you.
That’s pretty insane, right?
And more and more companies are going beyond the resume for hiring.
The Muse says that seven years’ worth of social media usage — across all accounts — can be used to determine whether or not you’re professional enough. Obviously, this is a grey area — because social media is not meant to determine your worth ethic.
What have we learned today? Don’t be a racist, sexist jerk online (or IRL!).
And stop crap-talking your employer on the Internet, too! Everything else you share is up to you. Just remember to keep it somewhat professional. We’re all human — capable of using expletives and voicing strong opinions — but in this day and age, social media is a type of currency, so use it wisely.