During the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, KitchenAid managed to offend Twitter followers with a poorly executed joke about the president's grandmother: "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She died 3 days b4 he became president." Though the message was taken down quickly, it had already been seen and retweeted (again and again). The responsible employee reportedly sent the message from KitchenAid's corporate account by accident, instead of a personal account. The worker “won't be tweeting for us anymore," a spokesperson said. See how other corporate social media grunts messed up big time in just 140 characters.
Photogrpah by Robert Daly/Getty Images
The Not-So-Secret Secret Sex Blog
By day, Kendra Holliday worked part-time at a St. Louis nonprofit. At night she shared intimate details about her sex life on a blog called The Beautiful Kind, a self-described “safe haven for perverts.” When the nonprofit (which Holliday won’t name) googled its employees and found links to her NSFW blog from her Twitter account, she was immediately fired, despite dressing (in Holliday’s words) “like a freaking Mormon” at the office.
Bad Link! Bad Link!
Before she became the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Meg Whitman made a failed bid to be California’s next governor. It didn’t help her campaign when a spokesman tweeted the wrong link on Whitman’s Twitter account, meant to take followers to a political endorsement. Because of one missing letter, the URL actually directed people to a video of a cross-dressing Japanese man named H.J. Freaks playing the bass guitar.
Stay Classy, Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale police officer Luis Pagan may have had only 84 Twitter followers, but his online venting still ended his career. His tweets targeted negligent parents (“Deal with your own f--king kids.”), welfare recipients, and teenage paramours (“The car was shaking so much I thought it would flip.”). But the tweet that finally lost him his job was directed at a supervisor, whom he accused of being a “racist f--k.”
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity,” tweeted Scott Bartosiewicz, a social media manager for New Media Strategies, “and yet no one here knows how to f--king drive.” Bartosiewicz sent the tweet from the corporate account of one of his clients, Chrysler Group. Chrysler apologized, explaining that “our account was compromised. ... We are taking steps to resolve it.” They resolved it by firing Bartosiewicz and his agency.
Tweeting for Tyrants
After Marc Jacobs CEO Robert Duffy linked to a photo of a nude male pole dancer on the company’s official account, the label hired an intern to temporarily take over tweeting duties. The pressure proved too much. “I hate this job,” he tweeted, calling Duffy a “tyrant.” Also: “Don’t judge me! I’m alone in this office having to try and entertain you all.” He was fired, and the company apologized, adding, “Twitter is a crazy place. Protect your passwords.”
Bored to Death
Gene Morphis was dumped as CFO of women’s clothing retailer Francesca’s Holdings, explained his former company, for “improperly communicat[ing] company information through social media.” Closer scrutiny of his innocuous Twitter account suggests he may have been fired for posting dull tweets. Using the handle “@theoldcfo,” he shared such insights as, “Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board.”
Party on the Hill
“D2R”—shorthand for “December to Remember”—became the battle cry for three staffers of Representative Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). They bragged on Twitter about sneaking shots of Jack Daniel’s during the day while “crouching behind [a] desk,” and about misbehavior “on the taxpayer dime.” They also mocked the congressman for being an “idiot boss” and a “selfish a--hole.” It took four months for Larsen to notice and fire his staff.