Yesterday morning as I drove to work, which by the way is about an hour long trip, I listened to my favorite morning radio show “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning”. The Kidd Kraddick morning show is basically 5 DJs who talk about their life, events in the news and celebrity gossip. They have a few segments that are dedicated to celebrity news, and they also get the biggest names in Pop music as guests.
The day before Selena Gomez had announced that her mother was pregnant. One of the radio show hosts jokingly made a remark that Selena Gomez might in fact be pregnant and her mother was going to fake a pregnancy to allow Selena from tarnishing her name. It was an outlandish supposition that anyone who normally listens to that show knows is routine (I had the same thought when they said Selena Gomez’ mother was pregnant. After all, stranger things have happened in Hollywood) and meant for the sake of comedy. The show hosts didn’t believe that, and the radio station didn’t receive the first complaint over the segment. Not only does the Kidd Kraddick show go easier on celebrities than other forms of media, but they also run a successful charity for terminally ill children called Kidd’s Kids that Justin Bieber was involved in a couple years ago.
Shortly afterward Selena Gomez tweeted that she was upset by Kraddick’s remarks, and Justin Bieber chimed in with a Tweet saying “Smooth Kid, Real smooth smh”. Within an hour Kidd Kraddick was a trending Twitter topic, the story had changed to Kidd Kraddick wishing an abortion or miscarriage on Selena’s mother and millions of Twitter users were tweeting threats against the talk show host.
I listened to the whole radio segment that day, and wasn’t even aware of the threats or outrage until the next day when I listened to their show and they mentioned it. The next morning Kraddick apologized to Selena and her mother, even though what was said on his show was no worse than what celebrity gossip writers say about pop music stars daily.
To understand why Selena Gomez would be upset you have to look no further than Kidd Kraddick’s Twitter page. His picture has been a picture of himself with Selena Gomez the last time she was on their show. She is a recurring guest, and the hosts speak highly of her almost on a daily basis. Justin Beiber was also a regular guest when he was an up and coming act. Bieber and Gomez ended up deleting their tweets after the flood of threats started pouring in and Scooter Braun contacted Kraddick. It hasn’t been confirmed if Selena heard a false report concerning the show and believed the miscarraige rumor or if she took offense to the actual broadcast.
The simple fact is that this situation should have never been vented on Twitter, especially by young celebrities who command such a following of immature teenagers. When people look to you for thought leadership, it’s important that you maintain a level of professionalism and avoid creating a mob mentality, especially one based on rumor and innuendo. Selena has obviously been on the Kraddick show several times and no doubt had the ability to make a call to their studio. If she was upset by something that was said on the radio that would have been a much better route to take.
It is a major responsibility to have several million followers on Twitter. Even though your average ‘Belieber’ has about a quarter of the marketing power of a real adult person with a small following, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have extremely large followings that are fanatical about their respective icons. I don’t know how many CDs they buy, but one thing the followers of the two are obviously good at is sending death threats.
I don’t know about you, but I am mortified by the lack of foresight on the part of Selena Gomez and the attitudes of her followers. I don’t follow pop music that closely, in fact the only time I ever hear Gomez’ name is on the Kidd Kraddick show (Is that Irony I smell?), but until yesterday I had never heard anything negative about her personality and certainly didn’t hold her in contempt of her actions. If anyone should be empathetic to death threats from fanatical celebrity followers, wouldn’t the girlfriend of Justin Bieber be that person?
It’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool that needs to be wielded responsibly. Ashton Kutcher recently handed over his Twitter account to Katalyst, his PR firm, because of a snafu he made in regards to comments about another celebrity. He acknowledged the great responsibility that broadcasting to so many potential listeners brings with it. Could Selena Gomez, someone who makes up half of what could be called the most powerful couple in Hollywood, bar none, really be that oblivious to these facts?
So in the end, what do you say? I can’t hold it against Selena Gomez for taking up for her mother, but in that position with what was said as well as the context, I wouldn’t have taken offense if it was my mother. If she responded before even hearing the broadcast, that is a whole other level of irresponsibility. Even though they removed their instigating tweets, they still haven’t set the record straight. I heard Kraddick’s apology this morning, and am waiting on Selena’s. Hopefully this small incident, even though weighted by the sheer number of death threats, will teach Hollywood a lesson that Social Media Marketers know too well…. The power of a tweet.
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