It’s something of a trend these days for people to be reprimanded in one way or another because something the’ yay or do is deemed offensive. If you say or do something that even a very small minority get upset by, there’s a good chance you’ll be punished in some way. Even just telling a mild joke about a particular group of people can land you in hot water. While being chastised for offending a few overly sensitive people is frankly ridiculous, what’s startling is that people can face consequences today for something they said or did many years ago.
There have been quite a few examples of people being fired from jobs for historic tweets, i.e. Twitter messages they posted many years ago. One such example is the case of Shila Iqbal, a former Emmerdale actress. She was 24 when she was fired from the soap after tweets she sent as a 19-year-old were found. These tweets contained the N-word. Even though they were made five years previously, they were still deemed problematic enough for the actress to deserve firing from her job. She didn’t post tweets containing the N-word while she was employed as an actress, and yet she was fired for something she had done five years ago.
Standards and times do change. No one is perfect. People’s opinions, thoughts, ideas, motivations and mindsets change over time. What’s written online might not necessarily be meant to offend anyone. And yet, because it’s seen as offensive, it’s classed as problematic and the writer of that content has to be punished, no matter how long it’s been since the content was posted. What’s happening with past tweets is a disturbing trend for two reasons. The first is that simply posting something that some people may find offensive is no reason at all for someone to lose their job and have their career negatively affected. The second is that if you posted something years ago that could be deemed offensive, even if you dind’t mean it to be at the time, you can get punished for it at any time. All it takes is one person to search through your postings to find one from several years ago that looks like it could be offensive, spread it about and have you face consequences today for something you did years ago.
We live in a world where far too many things are deemed offensive and people don’t get off with a slap on the wrist. Instead, if you say or do anything that can be seen as offensive, the consequences can be quite harsh. It’s bad enough that people are suffering the consequences because of what they do today; it’s even worse that their past actions are being analysed and used against them. If there wasn’t punishment at the time someone tweeted something, why should they then be punished many years down the line?