Social media platforms have a great many uses – one of the more recent of these is the ability for the common person to follow their heroes on idols on sites such as twitter and Facebook, in order to keep up to date as best as possible with the lives of the rich and famous. Naturally, the places the latter group under a great deal of scrutiny – far more than any run of the mill social media user. This, to me, raises two important ethical questions:
- Is this fair?
- What are the ethical responsibilities for well known, influential individuals as far as their online presence is concerned?
Celebrities are well aware of their position as role models to society. Whilst this is rarely a conscious choice, it nonetheless widely agreed upon that any individual with social influence should always strive to create as positive an influence as possible with their rhetoric in the hope that others, ‘further down the food chain’ might do the same. With more and more people joining social media platforms everyday, many would feel that this role is becoming increasingly vital.
However, many celebrities often fall short of these standards – Earlier this year, Burnley striker Andre Gray famously posted the tweet below;
It goes without saying that this sort of behaviour cannot be condoned and strikes a very poor tone with the public – BUT isn’t this the sort of thing that can be found regularly in the deepest darkest depths of the Internet? AND isn’t the ordinary public where 99% of celebrities, particularly sportsmen and women, such as Andre Gray, originally hail from? Leading back to my first question, can our high ethical standards for those in the upper echelons of society be considered fair?
Jimmy Kimmel’s video below, whilst very humorous in its content, inadvertently provides us with a very interesting talking point.
Think for a moment – How would the public have reacted had a celebrity tweeted any of the ‘mean’ tweets mentioned in the video?
Drawing the line
Ultimately, a line has to be drawn between what can be considered acceptable and what cant. Personally, I am of the opinion that anything that would be considered offensive by the majority of a society shouldn’t be publicised by any publicly celebrated figure. Some, however, are able to flirt with this imaginary line in the sand due with guile. A certain Mr Tump could be perhaps be considered an expert…
Bennetts, Julian, “Andre Gray Apologises After Offensive Twitter Posts Surface On Day Burnley Striker Scores First Premier League Goal”, The Telegraph, 2016 <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/08/20/andre-gray-offensive-twitter-posts-surface-on-day-burnley-strike/> [accessed 27 November 2016]
“Corrie Actor Sacked Over ‘Offensive’ Tweets”, Sky News, 2016 <http://news.sky.com/story/coronation-street-actor-marc-anwar-sacked-over-racially-offensive-tweets-10592600> [accessed 27 November 2016]
“Here’s Who Should Be De-Verified On Twitter”, The Daily Dot, 2016 <http://www.dailydot.com/unclick/twitter-unverified-list/> [accessed 27 November 2016]