The Slap Heard Around The World

“The Slap” Heard Around The World

So, we’ve all heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscar Awards this year, after Chris Rock made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada.

This has had consequences no one could have predicted, including Smith’s resignation from his Academy membership and damages to his professional reputation. Chris Rock too, has faced a serious social media backlash over both the joke itself as well as his rather delayed public apology about the situation.

This is yet another illustration of how quickly you can ruin your reputation. In Smith’s case, a thirty-six-year reputation as a good guy, was severely dented by a single public wrong move. This one was one the Oscars stage and broadcast to millions but the same applies to the social media stage which reaches even larger audiences. The whole world is always watching. This is something to keep in mind when dealing with your company’s social media presence.

No matter how far removed from social media, your company is, if you become a household brand, you may need to have carefully considered opinions on current events and be up to date with all of the various ways in which you could be seen to be insensitive. One wrong move in the public eye could result in a significant and potentially costly public backlash.

Obviously, this is not easy as a company needs to decide who its largest customer base is and then publicly align with the beliefs and values of that group. However, in doing so, you simultaneously alienate and exclude all those with opposing beliefs and write off their future business.

“Can we just not say anything at all?”

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option in many cases either as the company then runs the risk of being perceived as unfeeling, lacking compassion, or uninterested in the concerns of their customers. This is of course, almost as bad as publicly having the wrong opinion.

Dealing with having said the wrong thing, is also a minefield. You cannot simply delete an accidentally tone-deaf post once it’s been posted. Screenshots exist and your followers are always watching. The only way to handle a faux pas like that would be a masterfully crafted public apology as soon as possible. The sooner the better.

Ensuring pre-scheduled posts have remained appropriate is also important. For example, had you made battle-themed posts and scheduled them a month before and they were posted just as the war in Ukraine broke out, this would not go down well. Revisiting scheduled content closer to the time is necessary to make sure the things you’ve said are still inoffensive and tactful.

Our suggestion is to carefully craft opinions that are aligned to your customer base while remaining unbiased enough that the opinion cannot be taken out of context, warped or otherwise twisted into something detrimental. It’s crucial to have well-thought-out opinions and to consider the consequences of absolutely anything you say in the online or physical space.

It’s an incredibly delicate juggling act but with Hashtag Marketing’s years of expertise, we can help you avoid public scandal and remain above board in the eyes of the world. Contact us today.





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