Yes, it sounds like a no-brainer headline, but there are no fewer that a half-dozen reports of public officials making light of the disaster in Japan. Some of the low-lights:
Insurer Aflac fired Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the duck in its commercials, for sending out these tweets:
“Japan called me. They said ‘maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here, they’re all sinking.’”
”I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ‘is there a school in this area.’ She said ‘not now, but just wait.'”
The press secretary for Mississippi governor stepped down after sharing an email with some bad jokes about the disaster. The missive said: “Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for his single, ‘Sittin’ on The Dock of the Bay.’ (Not a big hit in Japan right now.)”
And CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow made an apology after saying, “The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that. And the human toll is a tragedy, we know that.” He later apologized in a tweet.
So, what are the lessons here? First off, don’t joke or make light about human tragedies, espeically in writing or in front of a camera or near any reporters. And remember that you and your co-workers represent your company at all times, this includes comments made on your Facebook page and Twitter feeds. Any questions? Ask the GroundFloor team to help your company set up social media guidelines.