It was only Sunday last in one of the major dailies an article came forth about tweets, social media and online profiles and how past posts, comments and such can come back to bite persons, a case in the St Andrew Parish court today involving a police man who arrested two men for marijuana possession claimed he never met the men, yet a photo turned up as evidence of the said policeman at the home of one of the men thus the matter was dismissed by the judge and a probe launched by the police systems as to his dishonesty.
Omar McCleod the gold medal winner for the first time in the 110m hurdles for men was the subject of a bigoted tweet by a one week old employee of LASCO foods who used the word “Goldfish” with reference to #lasco in response to a request by a Gleaner journalist who was soliciting a possible headline for the achievement for the paper, while others were offering suggestions that offensive bigoted tweet was the one that led to the firestorm around 10pm on the 16th and which lasted ‘til the following morning. The ‘fish’ component of the term is what is offensive as it is the word over decades used in place of other terms such as ‘battyman’ ‘number 2’ ‘chi chi man’ and ‘faggot’ used to stigmatize gay men. The conjoining of both ‘gold’ and ‘fish’ therefore was a direct jab a McCleod’s winning the gold and he is gay; an unfortunate assumption to make in the height of feel good moment we are going through. Even crime has been reduced due to the distraction of sorts by the positive results from the Olympics and our athletes.
LASCO who is known for their exceptional corporate social responsibility quickly acted as their brand was about to be mired in a surprise bolt from the blue based on an effemophobic view of the athlete based on his emotional reaction to the win complete with memes, edited photos and homophobic darts thrown at his public persona; this just goes to show how far we have left to go in tackling sheer ignorance even in the face of mainstreaming so called metro-sexuality in the form of tight pants and or body clinging clothing, bleached faces and skin, arched eyebrows all thought as anathema for men but now entrenched; apparently the effeminate posture is the supposedly line men must not cross. Why was a one week old employee allowed to have such proxy and power to tweet on behalf of LASCO is one of the big questions being asked and where was the supervision or vetting systems to catch that tweet before it went out?
I like many sensible persons saw a Jamaican winning the race, his sexual orientation should not be of any consequence let alone whether he was too emotional or not, the moment is surreal and to achieve such as win at the highest level at his age is a major achievement. Speaking on POWER 106FM chairman of LASCAO Lascelles Chin and deputy executive Peter Chin said the acted as soon as they got wind of the infraction, Mr Chin the former is and has been a no nonsense man since his days at Henkel Chemicals to now. The previous statement issued by LASCO on claims of the account being hacked may have been an attempt by the perpetrator to cover their tracks.
Lascelles Chin went on to say among other things:
It’s unfortunate that some of these things do happen but I mean all Jamaicans the best and you know that even now we are fighting to reduce our costs to pass it on straight to our consumers.
We are personally trying to communicate with Omar, probably this tweet might come some good, because we are going to try and see how we can really ... we really apologise to him; the tweet was unnecessary and we are going to communicate and make amends in whatever way we can.
How can a Jamaican say that at this time when we should be all thanking Omar for really giving us this fantastic moment and a gold, unbelievable, we must all learn to appreciate good and don’t come with ‘badmind’
We don’t need a fool to try and create problems.”
This is a big lesson for all social media managers including LGBT ones as some of the crap I am seeing coming across from some outlets is disturbing to say the least where persons seem to forget the account is not for their personal hurrah. Years of work almost destroyed by one idiotic tweet. Then there is the business of sensitivity training or the lack thereof and that when individuals behind the platforms are to operate they are doing so on behalf of the entity, some supervision should have been there to vet the tweet before the send button was hit. The former employee who did this is not alone his/her immediate supervisor(s) must be accountable as well, a one week old employee cannot be free to act on their own.
LASCO’s statement also read in part:
Meanwhile some political opportunists have jumped on this one to try to gain mileage, word has come that a tweet by the Portia Simpson Miller account claiming no hate and such while others have been eagerly creating videos claiming it was hate yet these are the same political representatives who cannot find the gumption to do the right thing in starting the process to reduce the very hate they are latching on to.
Anyway congratulations to the athletes who have been representing us and hope that McCloud and his camp can get passed this one.
Peace & tolerance