How A Single Tweet Ruined Their Lives

Roseanne Barr's racist tweeting might have finally caught up to her, but she's not the first to suffer the consequences of terrible posting.

Roseanne Barr's blatantly racist tweet calling former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett an "ape" prompted ABC Entertainment to pull the plug on her show. (It should be noted that this is not the first time she's called a woman of colour an "ape", merely the first time it has had consequences.)

But Barr is hardly the first person to face the consequences of being terrible online.

Justine Sacco

PR executive Justine Sacco sent this tweet before boarding an 11-hour flight to South Africa.

Justine Sacco can easily be considered "ground zero" for dumb tweets having real-life consequences. The PR executive tweeted to her 170 Twitter followers "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" before boarding an 11-hour flight to South Africa.

By the time she landed #HasJustineLandedYet was trending. Despite a heartfelt apology, she was fired, humiliated, and spent months, even years, trying to shake the stigma of sending one dumb tweet.

She was even the subject of Jon Ronson's book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed.

Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin holds the fake, severed head of Donald Trump.

The U.S. comedian courted outrage from just about everyone when she posted the fake, severed head of Donald Trump. Trump called her "sick", Chelsea Clinton called it "vile and wrong", and a whole bunch of her upcoming shows were cancelled.

The consequences for Griffin still hang around to this day, with the comedian tweeting that she still "can't get a TV gig or special, despite selling out shows in major venues across the country."

Shout-out to the 'Trump family source' who told TMZ that Trump's 11-year-old son Barron saw the image on the news and thought it was real, a thing that absolutely did not happen.

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham presenting her Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle.

The far-right Fox News commentator and all-round vile human being finally faced the consequence of her actions when she laughed at Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg for not getting into the college of his choice.

He responded by tweeting at her advertisers to drop her, and one-by-one, most of them did.

Fox News very quickly announced that she was taking an 'unplanned' week-long break following the scandal, but unfortunately, she returned.

One-time L'Oreal model Axelle Despiegelaere

Axelle Despiegelaere at the 2014 World Cup match between Belgium and Russia.

You probably don't recognise Axelle Despiegelaere's name, but you'll likely know her face. The 17-year-old Belgium cheering on the 2014 World Cup in Rio went viral, and she was quickly picked up by L'Oreal to advertise its hair care products.

Not long after, photos of her hunting wild game in Africa (along with the joke that she was "ready to hunt Americans today") were discovered, and L'Oreal distanced itself immediately, claiming that Despiegelaere's contract had ended.

Axelle Despiegelaere later deleted her entire Facebook page, although it's back online today.

Special mentions to people who have faced zero consequences for their terrible actions in the public sphere.

  • Donald Trump, who is blatantly racist on the daily and still holds both a Twitter account and the Presidency.
  • Cory Bernardi, who wears his homophobia and transphobia on his sleeve and still remains in the Australian Senate.
  • Prue MacSween, who called for a second Stolen Generation earlier this year and still remains employed by major news outlets in Australia.