Two cautionary tales have emerged over the past week from a Hollywood A-lister and a quarterback destined for professional athletic stardom.
The first is actor and comedian Kevin Hart, who had been selected to host the Oscar awards show. Not many people really care about the Oscars anymore, but it doesn’t stop millionaires from dressing to the nines to talk about how terrible the country has become under our current president.
In his comedy — and via some social media messages — Hart has used language that the political correctness police have deemed to be homophobic and offensive to those in the gay community. When he was announced as host, the digging through Hart’s social media world began. With a simple three-finger combination on a computer screens, every single thing that one posts on social media can be photographed and saved forever.
That is what happened to Hart. In some of his comedy, he delivered lines to get laughs from a paying audience. Comedians making fun of any number of groups — Irish, gay, black, straight, whatever has been going on for generations. Any comedian who has insulted a coveted “victim group” is now in the crosshairs.
Is Hart homophobic? Heck if we know. But his comedic lines and a few tweets were enough to have him step aside from hosting the Oscars.
Then on Saturday night during the annual Heisman Trophy ceremony, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray came under fire for social media posts he made as a high schooler. In the criminal justice system, most malfeasances outside of felonies committed by people under the age of 18 are sealed. Youth court proceedings are not open to the public or the media. The thinking is minors receive the benefit of the doubt because, let’s face it, young people do really stupid things sometimes.
As Murray was collecting the award as the best college football player in the country, his social media tweets were being scrubbed and deleted. But not fast enough as some of his messages were saved for eternity. Is Murray a homophobe? Heck if we know. But he was forced to issue an apology following the revelation of his high school tweets.
The message here is for every person who uses social media — be careful what you put out there. High school kids today who tweet or Facebook or Instagram something stupid — drinking from a funnel or smoking marijuana through a bong — will be affected if 30 years from now that same stupid high school student is a candidate for senate or president or a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Back in the olden days when people wrote letters, there was a common thought when someone wanted to fire off a nasty letter or email to someone. Write it, then walk away for 15 minutes, then come back and read it again. Then decide whether hitting the send button will be the wisest thing to do. Follow those guidelines with social media because anyone with a computer can, with a three-finger computer move, immortalize every dumb comment one might want to broadcast.
Be careful what you post — if you have aspirations for your future.