With the passing of another celebrity announced this morning I wanted to address something that’s been on my mind lately.
I want to know if people have always been this insensitive or if it’s just more noticeable because of social media.
I understand the anonymity of screen names and avatars give people a certain sense of freedom to say what they want and “Internet Trolls” were always these evil unknown creatures that created false accounts to simply go online and make others feel bad by saying mean things. BUT…recently I have noticed many of my facebook friends and those folks I know on twitter have been much more open with their comments and opinions in a way I don’t remember the general public behaving when I was growing up.
Example one: When Philip Seymour Hoffman tragically died in early February I was heartbroken. He was one of the first actors I had the privilege of working with when I booked my first SAG job on Along Came Polly. I saw it online and double-checked several sources before posting a facebook status stating that I was sad that such a talented man had passed. Shortly after I had several comments ranging from RIP to he isn’t dead, it’s a hoax to people shouldn’t do drugs, etc. Some comments were respectful and kind, but several of them weren’t and I deleted the negative comments, but still all of the negative comments hurt. Why would people I know personally be so cruel to make insensitive comments directly to me when I expressed my grief over a loss I felt for someone I had worked with? I then saw several cruel facebook status updates from other “friends” with jokes, harsh reactions and assumptions of his drug use, and so forth. This was all even before the cause of death was officially announced. I actually avoided going online for a part of the day because I found it all too much.
Example two: A little girl in my hometown had a facebook page set up for her friends and supporters to follow her journey and write uplifting messages to her and her family. It was announced that she had been given only a couple of weeks after a turn in her health. People started spreading the word and “likes” grew on her page, so did comments of support. Then came other comments…less supportive. Then she passed away. A few days later I saw a post from her mother that she was very upset by the negative remarks left on the page. Why would anyone write negative or hurtful comments to a mother that just lost her daughter to cancer!?!?
Example three: This morning Harold Ramis died from complications of a rare disease. I found out through social media because I saw a joke on someone’s status about it.
I can only imagine how awful it must be for the family and close friends that cannot go online without running the risk of seeing rude, insensitive, mean, jokes and comments made at the expense of their loved one that they are grieving at the moment. I don’t understand why people feel it’s ok to make such comments. Are these things people were saying all along, but now it’s just more visible due to social media…or has social media made people less aware of the impact their comments make on others?
NOW MY INDUSTRY P.O.V.
Now here’s another thing…if you WORK in the entertainment industry, struggling to get your next gig as a writer, actor, director, etc…it is even more difficult for me to understand why making jokes or saying anything mean about a peer or their project would even be a thought in your mind. Many of the mean things I read immediately after Philip passed were by my industry connections. I don’t want to work with people that I find insensitive, judgmental and only out for themselves making such comments about a fellow performer in such a tragic moment. Those simply aren’t the kid of people I want to surround myself with. I can imagine others must have feel this way as well. Even if I am being overly sensitive…do you really want to take a chance that a possible employer would look you up online and see those type of negative status updates, especially if they were friends with the person you were commenting on…or the project you made fun of was something they produced and were proud of…or the singer you called tone-deaf was their daughter or son…etc. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING OUT THERE.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.