This year was a big one for dumbasses on Twitter. Dozens of times throughout 2013, a few measly 140-character messages made national headlines and ate entire news cycles. We saw many publicly branded, mocked and dismissed as racists, misogynists and slut-shamers, and a handful of people lost their jobs over one thoughtless missive.
As we’ bring 2013 to a close, SocialNewsDaily invites you to pour out a few for those who poked the hornets nest this year on Twitter. Here’s our countdown of the 10 most controversial, talked-about tweets of 2013. They are:
10. The Onion Calls Quvenzhané Wallis A C*nt
It’s hard not to love The Onion for their satire, but calling a 9-year-old girl the c-word is the line. Though they were really just trying to poke fun at the universal acclaim the child actress received for 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, the overall reaction to the tweet was abject horror and disgust. The Onion later apologized.
9. Geraldo’s Tits
“OMG, the fam is going to be so mad, but here’s my naked selfie so be jelli.” That’s what late-night drinking, loneliness and impressive self-esteem on the part of Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera gets you. Geraldo tried to laugh it off, but pretty much everyone agreed that whether 70 is the new 50 or not, Geraldo should have kept his obliques to himself.
8. “To Rape Or Not To Rape,” Next Time On Dr. Phil
Of all the questions that should not be asked for reasons of “the answer is so obvious that no one should ever have to say ‘the answer is so obvious’,” the question “can you have sex with drunk girls” is club founder, president, treasurer, mascot, etc. Dr. Phil claimed that he was just trying to start a dialogue with this cringe-inducing tweet, and in a way he succeeded. That is, if “how dare you?” and “fuck you!” and “let’s all murder Dr. Phil!” count as dialogue.
7. Jaden Smith: “Hey Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone!”
Jaden Smith’s September symposium on the state of education was surprisingly thoughtful (if not a little Jose Canseco-ish), but one tweet led the pack and raised a few eyebrows. Some criticized the 15-year-old for being out of touch and a little entitled, while others tried to see the merit in what he was saying. Either way, it provoked a lot of discussion. And mockery. This is Twitter, after all.
6. White Obama Advisor Tweets The Unspeakable, Off-Limits-To-Whites Word
Dan Pfeiffer, an aide to President Obama, has been double-checking the autocorrect on his iPhone for every single tweet since this unfortunate October missive. Meaning to type “bigger factor,” Pfeiffer accidentally brushed “n” (right next door) and sent off one of the most jaw-dropping tweets on the political side of things all year. And there was stiff competition. In any case, Pfeiffer handled it perfectly, issuing a following tweet that explained his “obvious” typo and lingering no more on this case of accidental racism. Shortest apology tour ever!
5. Rashida Jones And A Desperate Plea To Fatherless Daughters
In response to twerk-gate and its subsequent non-troversies, Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones took to Twitter with a wagging finger and some good old-fashioned mom tone. The problem is the hashtag, which many took as inexcusable “slut-shaming” which is a thing. All of the negative reaction caused Jones to follow-up with a multi-tweet apology and explanation which essentially went like this: “Hey, I didn’t mean whores. I just mean that women should respect themselves more and act like role models, though if women are acting all independent and free I guess that does make a good role model, and you know what? I’ll just go fuck myself, thanks for the civics lesson, Twitter.”
4. Elan Gale Grabs A Thanksgiving Flight, Is A Dick To An Imaginary Woman
Elan Gale is a producer for some TV show, and no one cared who he was until he made international headlines by live-tweeting an in-flight flame war between himself and “Diane in 7A.” Early coverage pegged him a hero for his “epic” battle of wits, but then the image above irked some of the fem-blogs. Once social and progressive commentators started taking turns analyzing the meaning and context of the words “eat my dick,” what they mean for the feminist movement, and how they betray a casual misogyny that is still observed yet rarely criticized on a societal level, the rest of the media caved and started throwing around terms like “sexual assault.” Ultimately, Gale admitted that he made the whole thing up and boy, did we all feel ashamed. In return, we all promptly stopped paying attention to him.
3. Home Depot’s Accidental Racism
There isn’t much we can say about this except that the right people were fired.
2. The SpaghettiOs Tweet That Will Live In Infamy
SpaghettiOs made the unfortunate decision to include their mascot in their commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, and Twitter went batshit. The brand was mocked, macros were created, and apologies were issued. I covered it when it happened, and honestly, I still don’t really understand what the big deal was with this one, except maybe that it was just a dorky thing to do. SpaghettiOs wasn’t offering discounts on the back of gampy’s military service, they just got all patriotic with their mascot. I think people were offended by this one because they thought they should be. Or, because it had been a while since something happened on Twitter that we could all get angry about. Luckily, a new challenger rose later in the month …
1. Justine Sacco Dodged AIDS, Ended Up Unemployed
To close out 2013, former PR rep Justine Sacco delivered what ended up being one of the most memorable and offensive tweets fired off all year. Adding to the obvious insensitivity of the tweet, Sacco published it before jumping on a 10+ hour flight. As she ate her complimentary peanuts and grabbed a quick nap, Twitter blew up with the viral hashtag #hasjustinelandedyet and her firing from IAC was processed before her airplane touched the runway. She did ultimately delete the tweet and apologize, but it wasn’t enough to save her job. Justine did ultimately land … in the unemployment line.
Since our readers love to remind us about everything we missed like they’re getting paid in Spanish doubloons, let us know what controversial, talked-about tweet you think that we should have included in our list in the comments below. Also, Happy New Year from SocialNewsDaily!
Author: Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.