For all intents and purposes, social media is a great thing. It helps you keep in contact with friends and family across the globe, you can find out about all manner of cool stuff going on in your neck of the woods, and you get to be on the ground floor when a person or corporation has a total meltdown. Occasionally, these social media mistakes have led to hasty firings and many people who instantly regretted their tweets and Facebook posts, having lots of time to reminisce, thanks to their newly unemployed lifestyle.
If you’re lucky enough, you get to see these social media faux pas and Twitter meltdowns happen in real time. This list is all about those moments when someone put a thought into the digital landscape without realizing that what they said could be read by one important person, or by millions of consumers ready to tear apart their corporate overlords, 140 characters at a time. These posts resulted in people with no job, ruined careers, and a whole lot of time on their hands all of a sudden.
We’ve all said things that we wish we could take back, and in the 21st century, we’ve all written things on social media we wish we could delete forever. Most of us are lucky in that our online lives haven’t popped up to stab us in the back in the middle of a board meeting or while we’re having a dinner with our parents. Most people haven’t been fired over Twitter posts or let go thanks to a Facebook photo, but not the people on this list.
These people led normal lives, hated their bosses, and liked to party. The only difference between them and you is that they put something negative on social media and the world sat up and listened. While that may seem like a good thing, the folks on this list didn’t think so at the time – most of them lost their jobs, were fired over Facebook, and faced a landslide of mockery that continues to this day.
CBS VP Fired For Writing That Las Vegas Victims Don’t Deserve Sympathy
On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd attending a music festival in Las Vegas, killing 59 people and wounding over 500. The next day, Hayley Geftman-Gold, a vice president and senior legal counsel at CBS, took to Facebook. Calling some of the shooting victims “Republican gun toters,” she claimed they didn’t deserve sympathy, and said she doubted the “Repugs” in power would “do the right thing.”
CBS immediately fired her, and released a statement that read, “This individual, who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS… Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families.”
Geftman-Gold’s comments have since been deleted, and she has publicly apologized.
Professor Fired For Saying Hurricane Harvey Was Karma
On August 27, 2017, Kenneth L. Storey, a visiting sociology professor at the University of Tampa, tweeted suggesting that Hurricane Harvey was “instant karma” for Texas voting Republican. He quickly removed the tweet and deleted his account, but the damage was done. The school received a flurry of criticism for the post, and Storey was promptly fired.
Storey issued an apology on the 28th, saying he “never meant to wish ill will upon any group.” The university, meanwhile, said it “stands in solidarity with the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”
CNN Correspondent Reza Aslan Was Fired After He Wrote Offensive Tweet To Trump
Following the London Bridge terror attacks in June 2017, President Donald Trump sent a slew of tweets criticizing London’s mayor (who happens to be Muslim). One of his tweets called for a bring back of Trump’s “travel ban,” which was ruled unconstitutional by several federal courts.
CNN host (and former religious scholar) Reza Aslan tweeted in response, calling Trump a piece of shit. CNN subsequently decided to cease production of Aslan’s show. He tweeted an apology, saying he was angered by Trump’s tweet and responded with uncharacteristic anger.
Florida Security Guard Fired For Documenting His Farts On Social Media
A post shared by Paul Flart (@paulflart) on Aug 19, 2018 at 12:17pm PDT
Known by the pseudonym Paul Flart, a security guard in a Florida hospital saw a video of his farts go viral in 2018. Flart – real name Doug, last name unknown – spent much of his job sitting in the lobby, which he noticed had good acoustics. This inspired him to create an Instagram account to document his farts for about six months. After someone uploaded a compilation of Paul Flart’s farts to YouTube, the video went viral.
Unfortunately, Paul Flart’s boss was less then amused and fired him for his actions. Flart live streamed his firing on Instagram. He wasn’t fired for the fart videos exactly. The issue was he uploaded content on a client’s property while wearing his official uniform.
Despite the setback, Flart is optimistic about his future. He plans to keep making videos using his pseudonym, hoping the gimmick could turn into a sustainable social media career.
Day Care Worker Fired for Snapchat PIc
A 19-year-old day care employee in Mesa, Arizona was fired for sending a Snapchat picture to friends. The picture showed her holding up her middle finger to one of the children at Kids Play day care, with the caption, “Swear I love kids.” The police department investigated other accusations that the woman had filmed the kids fighting and playing in the toilets, but those stories were never confirmed. Ultimately, she was fired for having her cell phone out when she should have been watching over the children.
The owner of the Kids Play, Dorothy Thorton, said, “I had to let her go. She shouldn’t have had her cellphone out. She’s watching kids.”
Principal Fired for Dumb Comment
Miami officer David Eric Casebolt wasn’t the only one who lost his job after pulling a gun at an unruly teenage pool party. North Miami Senior High School principal Alberto Iber was also sacked after unwisely adding his two cents to the nationally controversial and racially charged debate.
Iber wrote a public comment on the Miami Herald website, saying, “He [Casebolt] did nothing wrong. He was afraid for his life. I commend him for his actions.” The comment showed his Facebook picture, name, school and title.
Miami-Dade School District (whose student body is 99% minority) Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said, “Judgment is the currency of honesty. Insensitivity — intentional or perceived — is both unacceptable and inconsistent with our policies, but more importantly with our expectation of common sense behavior that elevates the dignity and humanity of all, beginning with children.”
Source: Miami Herald
Brookfield Zoo Employee Fired After Racist Tweet
Justine Sacco Fired After AIDS Tweet
On December 20, 2013, on the eve of her flight to visit family in South Africa, Justine Sacco, global head of communications for the digital media conglomerate IAC, tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!” As expected, the Internet exploded. Sacco claims that she meant the tweet as a piece of satire, but regardless of the context of her tweet – she was fired.
Connor Riley Ruins Her Chances with Cisco
UC Berkley grad, Connor Riley, was offered a job at Cisco when she tweeted “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”
It wasn’t long after that someone claiming to be a Cisco employee posted a reply saying, “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.” Oops.
Source: NBC News
Anthony Weiner: the man for which no one felt any sympathy. Mr. Weiner made Twitter history when, in 2011, he tweeted a photo of Little Anthony to a 21-year-old Seattle student. Then, in 2013, he entered the New York Mayoral race and more pictures ended up online (link NSFW). Allegedly, the pictures were posted under the name “Carlos Danger.”
If there are two lessons to learn from Anthony Weiner, they would be DON’T SEND NAKED PICTURES OF YOURSELF TO STRANGERS and don’t give yourself a nickname that includes the word “danger.”
Cameron Jankowski Fired Over Extra Yellow Nachos
If you still eat at Taco Bell, you may not want to after reading this. In July 2012, Cameron Jankowski posted a photo of himself peeing on an order of nachos and addressed it to Internet super creep and “revenge porn” purveyor Hunter Moore.
Either because they love Taco Bell or because they love justice, the hacker group Anonymous tweeted a link to a YouTube video that contained Jankowski’s personal details. Jankowski claimed that the nachos weren’t served to any customers and it was just a joke, but the damage was done and he was fired.
Source: The Daily Mail
Gabriella Pasqualotto Blows Open Cricket Gate
Gabriella Pasqualotto, a cheerleader for several cricket teams (today you learned cricket teams have cheerleaders!) posted a tell-all blog about how poorly the players treated them and was promptly fired by the team owners.
Source: Times of India
Epicurious Makes an Epic Fail
On the Monday after the Boston Marathon Bombing, recipe website Epicurious thought a bit of cross promotion was in order. They tweeted out “In honor of Boston and New England may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!”
May we suggest sticking your head in a bag of rabid ferrets?
Rashard Mendenhall Posts a Unique Opinion on the Death of bin Laden
In 2011, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall tweeted disappointment in the overwhelming praise of Osama bin Laden’s death by the American public. In the following months he lost his endorsement deals and was traded to Arizona where he played for only one year.
Source: Fox Sports
American Apparel Gets Washed Up
Can we all agree that American Apparel is the worst? Their former CEO, Dov Charney, is a creep and their ads make everyone feel like a perv. But the ad they ran during Hurricane Sandy, offering a whopping 20% off everything in the store may have been one of their lowest points yet.
Damian Goddard Takes a Stand Against Gay Marriage
In September 2010, Australian Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice came under fire when she made a homophobic slur on Twitter in regards to a rugby match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks. It cost her a lucrative contract with car maker Jaguar.
Source: The Daily Mail
Instagram Stars’ Show Canceled Over Offensive Tweets
Claudia Oshry, the social media star known as the Girl With No Job, landed a talk show called The Morning Breath with her sister Jackie in April 2017. But Verizon’s Oath canceled the whole thing when the Daily Beast published a piece about their mother, far-right commentator and anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, on February 28, 2018.
At first, Oshry and her sister tried to distance themselves from their mother, saying that their views were separate and “not anti-Muslim or anti-anyone.” Their past tweets, however, included crude jokes and slurs about Muslim people. Both apologized.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson went full on cyber bully when he started tweeting out homophobic slurs and bashing head coach Todd Haley on Twitter. It was only a few years later that he was out of the NFL for good.
Scott Bartosiewicz Forgets What Account He’s Logged in To
Scott Bartosiewicz, a social media strategist for Chrysler, proved that he is THE WORST at social media when he accidentally tweeted “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.” It’s fine to rant on Twitter, but maybe do it from your own account, not from the Chrysler Twitter profile.
Source: NBC News
Until 2011, Gilbert Gottfried was the voice of the Aflac Duck. Then he started tweeting jokes about the Japanese tsunami. One tiny problem: Aflac does 75% of its business in Japan. The company announced a casting call for his replacement directly after cutting him loose.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Nicole Crowther Spoils Glee
Kids, if you ever get a job on a film set, put your phones down. Don’t be like Nicole Crowther, the dumb-dumb who tweeted spoilers about the identity of Glee‘s prom king and queen. When show producers saw what she had done, they tweeted this to her, “Hope you’re qualified to do something besides work in entertainment.” OH SNAP!
Carly McKinney: Rebel Math Teacher
Carly McKinney, a high school math teacher in Colorado, made an ill-advised decision when she tweeted “Naked. Wet. Stoned.” She followed that one up with, “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.” She earned herself some administrative leave.
Source: The Daily Mail
Tim Chantarangsu Calls Out CPK’s Black Polos
In 2009, Tim Chantarangsu, a server at California Pizza Kitchen, was really against wearing black polos. He tweeted, “@calpizzakitchen black button ups are the lamest sh*t ever!!!” Obvi, California Pizza Kitchen saw this and terminated his employment. But don’t worry about Tim, he’s aight.
Alicia Ann Lynch Opts for Too Soon Halloween Costume
This entry is going to need a bigger YIKES. In November 2013, Alicia Ann Lynch, was fired after Instagramming a photo of herself dressed as a Boston Marathon bombing victim for Halloween. Shortly after posting the picture, the Internet had a Kardashian butt photo-level meltdown. Some people tweeted death threats, while others just posted naked photos of her. It wasn’t a good week for Alicia. After the fervor died down she revealed that the tweet cost her her job.
The Greengrass Incident or: The Star Who Didn’t Tip
In 2009, Jane Adams, star of HBO’s Hung, ordered a soup and lemonade at Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills before running out on the $13.44 check. Her waiter, Jon-Barrett Ingels, tweeted about it and Adams’s agent paid the bill the next day, sans tip. Once again Ingels took to Twitter to complain about the slight, and was fired by Barney’s Corporate.
Source: Perez Hilton
NatSecWonk Strikes Again!
Jofi Joseph, a National Security Council staffer, was fired following an internal investigation into the source behind the Twitter handle @NatSecWonk. The account was created in February 2011. With it, Joseph spent years disparaging national security policy and administration officials and even leaked vital security information. Also, many of Joseph’s tweets were offensive to women.
Source: US News
Toronto Firefighters Burn Down Their Reputations
In November 2012, a tweet from the account of Matt Bowman, read, “Reject a woman and she will never let it go. One of the many defects of their kind. Also weak arms.” Despite being a Dwight Schrute joke from The Office, without Rainn Wilson’s delivery (and the context) it doesn’t land as well.
It certainly didn’t make things any better when, in March 2013, he tweeted, “I’d never let a woman kick my a**. If she tried something I’d be like HEY! You get your b*tch a** back in the kitchen and make me some pie!” That original piece of content wouldn’t even work coming from Dwight!
According to a spokesman, the City of Toronto and Toronto Fire Services terminated the Bowman and other firefighters who had posted similarly offensive tweets.
Source: National Post
Ashley Payne Learns She Shouldn’t Mix Her Drinks
In 2010, a teacher in WInder, GA was fired for posting photos of herself to Facebook in which she was holding a glass of beer and a glass of red wine. She was given the option to resign or be suspended after a parent complained because apparently teachers aren’t supposed to have any fun ever.
Source: The Daily Mail
Kimberly Swann Fired for Not Being Dull Enough
Kimberley Swann, a 16 year old from Essex was fired from her job at Ivell Marketing & Logistics after describing her job as “boring” in a Facebook post. In a totally boring response to the outcry from social media, the firm’s Steve Ivell said of the decision: “Her display of disrespect and dissatisfaction undermined the relationship and made it untenable.”
Kim Lehmkuhl Recontextualizes Her Boredom
In 2014, a city clerk in San Francisco was asked to resign for allegedly tweeting during council meetings when she was supposed to be taking down meeting minutes. In her resignation letter, she described the job as a “mind-numbingly inane experience I would not wish on anyone.”
Source: SF Gate
EMS employee, Dawnmarie Souza was fired in 2009 for criticizing her boss on Facebook, referring to him as a “scumbag.” After filing a lawsuit her complaint was settled out of court.