Social Media Firings Roundup: Summer Edition

Every so often we comb through our bookmarks to compile a list of firings that have occurred over social media related incidents. After last week’s Customs and Border Protection debacle, we wanted to know if cops were still trending. Here’s our latest round-up, and yep--you guessed it--it’s chock-full of law enforcement.

But first, a close call:

Back in May, you may recall a news cycle featuring Constance Wu ranting over what she perceived as the unfortunate renewal of ABC’s hit TV sitcom, Fresh Off the Boat. Wu had tweeted she was “so upset right now I’m literally crying” and other angry comments in an immediate response to ABC’s announcement. It turned out that she was only temporarily frustrated that she would have to postpone a passion project, and luckily, ABC chose to honor her detailed apology, and Wu has retained her job.

It’s pretty clear that ABC chose to smooth things over in order to avoid 1) further PR disaster and 2) recasting a high-profile actress with newly-acquired social capital. However, even famed TV actors are not exempt from social media clauses in their contracts. As an employee of a big studio, Wu (and every other actor employed with ABC) probably has an ironclad contract that includes a clause preventing her from trash-talking the show and the studio. While the media may have sensationalized her potential firing, the suspicions are not without merit. If ABC had wanted to, they could have labeled this a breach of contract and fired her on the spot. While we’re sure everyone is grateful that didn’t happen, it’s still worth noting that simple outbursts like Wu’s aren’t without potential professional consequences.

Another cop

An Alabama cop was fired for posting racist memes of Michelle Obama on Facebook. While the bulk of the offenses were not disclosed to the public, the featured shared photo in the original report showed a crass comparison between First Ladies Melania Trump and Michelle Obama, with Obama’s caption reading “fluent in ghetto.” He was fired immediately from his position in Talladega, AL.

Yet another cop

A Missouri cop was fired for belligerent anti-Muslim posts on Facebook. In addition to obscene memes, the cop had posted his own comments, including “I don’t know about y’all, but I am 100-percent anti-Islam and anti-Sharia.” Local city officials and faith leaders were flabbergasted at his display of bias, commenting that “He has to protect and serve people of all faiths and backgrounds and given these posts, from a man in his position, how can he do his job if he has such anti-Muslim views?”

A group of prison guards

A group of Texas prison guards were exposed for posting violent comments about inmates as part of a “#FeelingCute” challenge on social media. Comments included “feeling cute, might just gas some inmates, IDK” and “feeling cute. Might cut off your water later...idk.”

Another nurse

A nurse was fired for violating HIPAA privacy after posting about a patient on Facebook. The nurse was part of an anti-vaxxer group called “Parents of Unvaccinated Children” and had posted about a child patient she had seen who had tested positive for measles. While her post was probably intended to be well-meaning and sympathetic, in addition to exposing confidential patient information, her post stirred up fear and distress on Facebook about a measles outbreak in the area, which the hospital then had to address.

In conclusion

In our last couple posts about social media firings, we questioned why it always seems to be cops, nurses, and the occasional celebrity that are fired for their social media. In any case, both of these industries require a tremendously high bar of professionalism. This latest round-up is further evidence that law enforcement and the healthcare industry may need to consider upping their vetting process in order to prevent more local scandals like these.