Penn State’s Problems, Ashton’s misTweet

We’ve seen it time and again: O.J. Simpson, Michael Vick, Ben Rothlisberger, Tiger Woods and now… Joe Paterno.

Scandals are nothing new to sports, but when someone with a golden reputation like Joe Pa is involved, it’s hard for fans to get past. College football fans and Penn State students sat in disbelief when it was announced that Paterno would be fired for his alleged involvement with a child abuse case concerning former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky.

The world erupted with emotions and students went to the streets in protest against the decision made to fire the beloved coach. Everyone from Michele Bachmann to the Devil himself had something to say about the incident. But no reaction compared to Ashton Kutcher’s. It wasn’t necessarily the content of his comments, but his lack of utter awareness, that made his reaction so memorable.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote:

“How do you fire Joe Pa? #insult #noclass as a Hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.”

Because Kutcher has recently started a program with wife Demi Moore to prevent sex trafficking and child abuse, it was a confusing tweet, to say the least. But Kutcher wasn’t actually defending Paterno. In fact, he didn’t know about the abuse allegations or the coach’s involvement. He thought the university was just firing the coach because of old age or bad performance.  Kutcher was only reacting to what he assumed had happened and it wasn’t until a few minutes later — when Kutcher actually picked up a newspaper — that the tweet was fixed.

Kutcher was embarrassed about the incident, apologized and quickly set himself straight. He then announced that he would no longer write his own tweets and would turn the Twitter responsibility over to his PR team.

It all brings up the question: Should celebs even tweet?

Passionate Kutcher followers seem to think so, as does Gizmodo, an online guide to all things gadget-related. Their blog went as far to call Kutcher a “cowardly quitter.” Others, like Forbes, think it’s probably better for celebrities to think before speaking.

As a journalism student, I am incapable of understanding how someone could be so unaware of what’s going on, and worse, share their lack of understanding with 8 million other people. However, as a celebrity fan, I have a really hard time with tweets that look like they’ve come straight from a press release.

Should celebrities be on Twitter? Do you believe PR people should run all accounts, ensuring accuracy? Or is it more important for genuine conversation between celebs and fans?

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6 Responses to Penn State’s Problems, Ashton’s misTweet

  1. dlkline says:

    I also find it dumbfounding that Kutcher could put out a tweet without detailed information of why the firing took place. Especially someone like Kutcher who has over 8 million followers. I believe with that kind of following, one needs to be extra diligent of the content of one’s tweets. I do believe celebrities should send out their own tweets because canned tweets that sound and look like mini press releases will turn fans off and defeat the purpose of tweeting.

  2. smwillar says:

    I think that one of the best things about Twitter is seeing these unedited, and sometimes embarrassing, tweets from celebrities. Yes, it was pretty incredulous that Ashton Kutcher had no idea about the biggest scandal in the news right now, but he is human and he made a mistake. The quick and dirty responses from “fans” were in poor taste and, in my opinion, just as brash as Kutcher’s famous tweet. However, I don’t think that he should have turned his account over to a third party. Now he is seen as someone who ran away from his problems and left the millions of other followers disappointed.

  3. lworthin says:

    Funny you should bring this up, I was going to post on the same topic! What I find disturbing about this (other than Kutcher’s lack of knowledge about what he is tweeting to millions of fans) is that he will no longer be the one tweeting from his account. Isn’t the whole point of Twitter that personal connection with your friends or celebrities? If you take away the actual person tweeting it, it turns into scripted, marketing junk that we could read in press releases or on their website. What I like about following celebrities on Twitter is being able to see a more personal side of their lives and understanding what they are really about and that they are humans too. I have decided to unfollow Ashton because I do not need any more promotions or marketing filling up my Twitter feed. While he made a mistake, I believe it is an even bigger one handing over his entire Twitter to his management. If it is such an issue, why don’t they just approve tweets that he’s planning on sending? I definitely think celebrities should tweet, it’s why I joined Twitter, but it doesn’t ring realistic or even interesting if it isn’t coming from them.

  4. caolson says:

    I absolutely think that celebrities should do their own tweeting because I think it creates a much more valuable relationship with their fans. It also shows that they are normal human beings, albeit dumb ones in Ashton’s case. Yes, it was completely irresponsible to make a comment like that without knowing what caused the issue first, but as human beings, we do it all the time. I don’t think Ashton’s misstep should serve as a reason for celebrities to stop tweeting for themselves. In fact, I don’t even think Ashton should stop tweeting for himself. If all celebs used the PR team to tweet for them, I think Twitter would have much less value as a social media site.

  5. estrapko says:

    I think the answer to your question is quite simple. Celebrities should definitely tweet themselves (nobody wants to read official press releases), but before making any official statements about what is going on in the world, should read news and do their research carefuly.

  6. abwolfe says:

    Ashton Kutcher responded like thousands of Penn State University students did when the news broke. He reacted out of passion and not sense. This is obviously the problem with Twitter. Once a tweet is out there, it can’t be taken back (especially when you have as many followers as Kutcher). I believe anyone should be allowed to tweet, but celebrities should really pay more attention to what they are saying. Their words reach more than anyone else, and they really need to start showing more restraint and respect.

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