Tag Archives: Public Shaming

The Internet and Mob Justice

On January 16th, a pet supply worker was fired for a racist tirade on a blog. On the 13th of the same month, Iron Mountain Daily News blacklisted a freelance writer after she was revealed using racial slurs. On the 11th of this month, a juvenile justice employ in Kentucky was fired for racist and violent postings on his Facebook wall.

Nothing surprising at first glance.

With ever-increasing social consciousness and public focus on modern-day racism in the past year, it’s nothing shocking that a person would be fired for getting caught making bigoted claims. Only these folks weren’t caught– they were exposed.

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Offensiveness and Oversensitivity

It should be no mystery to you that the writers here at Culture War Reporters are not afraid to call out people, industries, or even activities when they’re clearly in the wrong. Heck, we have an entire Shame Day feature dedicated to that very idea.

They typically feature this little guy yelling at people.

In this age of internet anonymity I believe that it is especially important to call attention to people who are being sexist, racist, and just generally bigoted. Too often we forget that what we say online [or anywhere, really] is able to be recorded, and that we can be held accountable to those words. It’s part of the reason I dedicated a Fame Day post to a tumblr called Public Shaming, run by a man who screenshots particularly egregious tweets to showcase how truly reprehensible some people can be. Just one example:

I was going to embed the least offensive one, but seriously, they’re all pretty much equally offensive.

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Fame Day: Public Shaming

I was going to write about comics helping people, or about how a Swedish toy catalogue acknowledged that girls can play with Nerf guns too, but I ultimately decided to focus on a wonderful Tumblr account I found recently. It’s called Public Shaming, with the subtitle “Tweets of Privilege.” Creator Matt Binder sums up the gist of his blog with the following:

I started retweeting people complaining about welfare, food stamps, etc. and then following it up with a previous tweet of theirs that makes them look hypocritical/dumb/etc. I discovered that as I would retweet these, my followers would start @replying these people and let them know they were idiots. They would then delete their offending tweet. Well, I couldn’t let that happen. So, I screenshot away.

What Binder is very aware of is that Twitter is, by and large, a public forum. Anything that you tweet, unless your privacy settings are changed, can be read by anyone and everyone; my local Metro, and other newspapers around the world, have a section dedicated to them. This is something that people like Donald Trump often forget. As he mentions, once the tweets draw enough attention they are normally taken down. While this is unfortunate, screencaps serve to archive these tweets, and I’ve embedded a few for your viewing pleasure. The first two are a few of the more relevant ones, and the last is a wonderful showcase of hypocrisy:

I actually tried pretty hard to find a tweet without a bunch of profanity.

In response to Korean pop artist PSY closing the American Music Awards.

“WTF. WHEN DID AMERICA BECOME A SHOWCASE OF DIVERSITY?!” My personal favorite. -Matt Binder

Regarding a few Mexican high school marching bands and dancers marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Just one of the many, many tweet comparisons that highlight the plight of the privileged.

A lot of the “tweets of privilege” happen to be teens and twenty-somethings writing about employment and the economy. There’s a definite trend of people saying that the jobless are lazy, when only months before they were complaining about being unemployed. What Matt Binder is doing with his blog is exposing hypocrisy where it so often festers [the internet], while also helpfully reminding everyone out there to watch what they say. If you stick your foot in your mouth out loud, there’s a chance someone will hear it, but less that someone will actually record it. On the other hand, making a tweet in poor taste about someone’s dead brother online is really all it takes to get on the news. So let’s give a round of applause for this Tumblr and its creator, and for what it is on the internet: a shining light that unveils the words of the wealthy and unwise. You can follow Matt Binder on Twitter at, easily enough, @MattBinder.