James Gunn
Nowadays, old offensive tweets can cost you your job. (Image via Fortune)
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James Gunn
Nowadays, old offensive tweets can cost you your job. (Image via Fortune)

In 2018, your social media is everyone’s business.

Almost two weeks ago, Disney fired director James Gunn for controversial jokes about pedophelia and rape he made almost a decade ago. Most recently, popular YouTube celebrity Austin McBroom was called out for a series of tweets he posted between 2011 and 2013 that resurfaced earlier this week.

The tweets in question were sexist in nature, and a majority of the postings specifically targeted black women for a series of disparaging comments about their attractiveness to McBroom. And, of course, all of this comes after Roseanne Barr was fired from her own TV series’ reboot for making a racist comment about a former Obama aide, Valerie Jarrett.

Of course, there have been several cases where non-famous people have lost their jobs over controversial tweets, but the comment(s) they were reprimanded for were much more recent than those of Gunn and McBroom. For example, most people were fired within days, or sometimes even hours, of making offensive statements online.

It is natural that a company would vet the employees it hires, becuase employees have an impact on an employer’s brand image; but the discovery and subsequent firing of Gunn and Barr, as well as the impact that McBroom’s statements are bound to have on his sponsorships, might signify a shift in how companies vet employees in the future.

Since Gunn was fired for statements posted almost a decade ago, it might indicate that other businesses will also follow Disney’s suit and implement a more thorough vetting process for its potential employees.

According to a 2017 study conducted by CareerBuilder, 70 percent of hiring managers and HR professionals monitor, to some extent, a potential employees’ social media pages to determine employability, and with recent events, that number is bound to increase in order to avoid any scandals befalling a company.

Really, everyone can learn some important lessons from what has befallen Gunn and Barr, and what is likely to follow McBroom and other celebrities as well: It is time to take a serious look at your social media profiles, and be aware of any statements that might be perceived (or, in fact, are) inappropriate.

The repercussions celebrities have faced for social media postings can ultimately serve as an unfortunate reminder that things posted on the Internet have a long life span, and that the past can always come back to bite you.

Writer Profile

Kate Maxwell

NC State University
Political Science


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