Do We Forgive Celebrities Who Apologise for their Problematic Tweets?

Social media seems to be the cause of many a PR disaster particularly twitter. Twitter is platform that is very easy to forget oneself on; from banter to offensive and problematic messages it has become a space on which individuals can make or break their reputations. It can happen to business owners, entrepreneurs, every day individuals and celebrities alike. I’m not sure whether people simply forget that the internet does not forget and what is posted on any social media platform is visible to the world or that they underestimate the reach and impact of the messages they share. Twitter is space which collective reactions can be extremely polarising and even if a tweet is many years old as Kevin Hart himself found out, if you do not handle public online reaction in the right way you can lose out on many opportunities. Cancel culture and call-out culture exists, there are an effort by individuals to use their online communities to hold people with influence and celebrity status to account when they misuse social media and it’s fair. If you have any sort of influence you have to be conscious of what you share online, it lives on through screenshots and the media at large. That is not to say however that a celebrity should necessarily be held to a higher standard than we hold ourselves or our loved ones for example. How many people in our personal lives would we cancel for every problematic statement they made to us in their lives? That being said many of the celebrities that some people argue should be cancelled are still thriving which begs the question of whether cancel culture works or should it allow space for growth and learning? Do we ever really forgive celebrities when they apologise for their problematic tweets?

In this video case study I focus on Maya Jama, celebrity TV presenter/personality in the UK was caught up in a PR disaster after the problematic and offensive tweets she posted about Dark Skinned Black Women between 2012 and 2013 were dug up. I created this video to address not only Maya Jama’s Twitter scandal but the impact of using social media to amplify problematic views and offensive mindsets/narratives and whether we can forgive or in fact forget.

I also look at how apologies are becoming ineffective in light of these situations, and whilst I don’t give all my strategic advice away in the video, I do offer some insight from a PR perspective.


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