Fame may come with a few perks – like always getting the best tables at restaurants, and the occasional free pass on a speeding ticket – but there is one place where we are all equal: the Internet. And social sabotage doesn’t care how many Oscars you’ve won, as we were recently reminded.
In honor of the recent beginning of a new school year, here are some course offerings from celebrities who learned the hard way:
Joking About Tragic Events 101, Professor Gilbert Gottfried
The stand-up comedian tweeted jokes about the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and was fired by AFLAC (for whom he voiced their commercials’ duck character) immediately for his insensitivity. Gottfried later apologized, but it didn’t change the outcome. AFLAC held a nationwide casting call and hired a new voice a month after the incident.
The Meaning of “Shhh!”, Professor Nicole Crowther
The next best thing to being a bona fide cast member of a television show has to be being a recurring extra, like Crowther was on “Glee.” Unfortunately, just because you’re privy to upcoming plot secrets doesn’t mean it’s okay to share them on Twitter. Producer Brad Falchuk responded to her tweets with a 140-character version of a pink slip, saying, "Hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment."
Which Button Do I Press?, Professor Hayley Williams
The lead singer of pop-punk band Paramore meant to direct-message a topless photo of herself to her boyfriend, but instead posted it publicly. Though she was quick to remove the image (three minutes to be exact), it was enough time for it to go viral. Now it’s out there forever.
The Art of Waiting to Tweet, Professor Brandon Jennings
When the Milwaukee Bucks beat Portland in double overtime, Jennings tweeted, “Back to 500. Yess!!! ‘500’ means where doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys.”
What’s wrong with an exuberant rookie sharing the thrill of victory with his fans? It turns out it violates NBA policy, which states players aren’t allowed to tweet during games, or for 45 minutes before and after games as well. Jennings was fined and had to cough up $7,500 for not obeying the rules.
Even I’m Not Perfect, Dean Oprah Winfrey
Did you know that it’s not cool for networks/network owners to solicit viewers or try to entice them away from other networks? (Neither did I. But I’m not a network owner.) Ms. Winfrey was unaware as well when she went a bit over-the-top with the self-promotion trying to gain viewership for her struggling OWN network last year. The moral of the story? Know the rules, know your company’s policies, and stay within the guidelines.
Hacking Can Happen to Anyone, Professor Jennifer Lawrence
Lawrence, and a list of other famous gals, were recently hacked, allegedly via iCloud, with hackers scoring personal nude photos of the celebs and sharing them on 4chan, where they were co-opted and shared all over the Web.
It’s possible that without Lawrence on the list, not many people would have cared. But the world loves J-Law. She’s so adorably human, what with tripping up the steps to receive her Oscar, and other every-girl hijinks, which makes the violation of her (and others’) photos feels oddly personal. Fans have rallied around those on the list, and the FBI is currently involved in the search for the hackers.
Of course the hackers are the ones in the wrong here, but it never hurts to remember that devices (and the Cloud) are vulnerable, and keep information you wouldn’t want to become public off of them.
If it can happen to celebrities, social sabotage can CERTAINLY happen to you.
IMAGE CREDIT: MINGLE MEDIA TV