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Celebrities and social media influencers have a new threat to worry about in addition to stalkers, hackers, and leakers. The surprising thing, however, is that the danger comes from the celebrities and influencers themselves.
In recent years, a new trend has taken hold of the internet. It usually follows the same steps every single time. First, someone will gain prominence or attention. After that, one person will dig up some old, unsavory tweets that said person posted. The final step is the inevitable backlash that has led to the end of a few careers.
Three of the most recent examples of celebrities whose old tweets surfaced have centered on James Gunn, Laura Lee, and Doja Cat. These particular cases are interesting because the offenders are all in different industries, and they received varying levels of backlash. Another notable difference involves the unique subject matter of each of their posts. Regardless of the differences, however, they are all stellar examples of the growing influence that social media has on both our public and private lives.
Director James Gunn is the most famous of the three cases. He is most well-known as the former director of the Guardian of the Galaxy series. The change in his employment status occurred after old tweets of his re-surfaced. What was the content of those tweets? Well, they were full of pedophiliac jokes.
As is always the case in such controversies, Gunn apologized for his old posts and asserted that he had changed for the better over the years. However, he was still fired from his role as the director of the popular Marvel franchise. That said, the public response to his firing has been mostly negative. While scrolling through Twitter can lead to a couple of tweets denouncing Gunn, the majority of the tweets are in support of him. In fact, there is even a hashtag dedicated to calling for his reinstatement.
The virtual support that Gunn has been receiving online is not the only backlash that has occurred in the wake of his firing. In fact, it is not just fans who have been announcing their support for him. Another group who has vocally stood by the director includes the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy.
With all of this support, one would think that Disney might reconsider their decision, but that has yet to happen.
The one thing, if any, to take away from the James Gunn situation is that there are some cases where old tweets have led to the loss of a job but not necessarily of all public support for a celebrity. Although, it is definitely worth noting that the Gunn situation is not the standard, and many other influencers have fared a lot worse in the court of public opinion.
The reasoning for the varying degrees of backlash is unclear. Some complain that people would not support Gunn if he was a conservative. However, the widespread support for him could stem from his quick apology or the immense popularity of the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Maybe that’s why Gunn has now found himself at the helm of another massive movie franchise after losing his position at Disney.
Laura Lee is one such case where the public has been much less forgiving. The backlash against Lee began after some rather complicated drama in the social media beauty scene, which ended up dragging her into the fray. Soon, this led to the revelation that she had previously made multiple tweets that many consider racist.
The backlash led to the loss of not just followers but also sponsorships and deals that Lee had with beauty brands. Like others before her when faced with such controversy, she made a public apology on her YouTube channel. That said, the apology video ended up backfiring and only made her situation worse. Quickly after its release, it was mocked relentlessly online. Some even made spoofs of her apology, and almost everyone agreed that her tears were fake. Ultimately, critics blasted the video as a ploy to retain her status as a YouTube Celebrity.
Whether she genuinely meant her apology or not, the fact remains that the majority of those who watched it did not find it credible. The inability to find it on her channel anymore is also notable.
Unlike Gunn, Lee does not have a large group of fans and peers supporting her amidst the controversy. Without at least some public support like Gunn has, there is no way to know if her career will be able to survive. Additionally, even though journalists wrote articles with predictions about the possible status of her future on YouTube, she has indeed returned to posting after being silent. However, just like Babe noted, her lost subscribers have not returned.
The third and the most recent of these cases is that of a rising musician who goes by the name of Doja Cat. She had a music video of hers go viral, and it did not take long for past tweets to surface. Her particular offense, however, wasn’t for using pedophiliac or racist language. Instead, she used a well-known homophobic slur in old posts.
Like Lee and Gunn, she issued an initial apology when the tweets were brought up. However, her apology was met with backlash since she used the same slur she was apologizing for in her apology tweet. She later made another apology that did not use the offending language.
Doja Cat is unique because she has received very few consequences for her old social media posts. She has not lost any deals, and her label hasn’t dropped her.
In fact, it seems as if the controversy ended as soon as it started. Part of that may be because Doja Cat is probably the least well-known out of all three celebrities. One article by UPROXX hypothesizes that the controversy around her may have been so limited that some of her fans didn’t even hear about it. Or maybe, like James Gunn, there are dedicated fans of Doja Cat who do not care about her past tweets as long as her music is to their taste. Whatever the case may be, Cat’s career looks to be continuing unharmed.
These three cases were certainly not the first or the last to receive negative attention from their old social media posts. As social media continues to play a larger role in modern society, there will be new victims of the ghost of Twitter past. As a result, there will be continuing debates over how much a person’s old posts should affect their current lives.
Until there’s an answer, if there ever will be, everyone should think harder about the posts they decide to share with the entire internet. After all, one never knows when social media stardom will strike them. And maybe, everyone should get a little more comfortable with the delete button in the meantime.
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