At this point in the digital age there’s probably enough evidence to make people think twice about what they say or do online, lest it become social media fodder, right?


If you were on social media this morning you may have noticed that Private Property were not so private last night.

A Private Property employee was found by 2 cyclists this morning at 4:30am in a dire state.

The images that were shared on social media of the Private Property employee sleeping on the side of the road, covered in throw-up, once again demonstrated the unintended — but probably not unforeseeable — side effects of social media.

A representative from Private Property has stated that they are taking this very seriously & have already actioned a company dismissal of the employee.

“He may have been driving a company vehicle but his actions are more reflective of his individual choices & the consequence is that a 21 year old has just been fired from his job & could face criminal charges for drunken driving.”

“He’s lost his job & career opportunity, all because of a decision he didn’t think through.”

But each week seems to bring a new story of someone posting something they definitely shouldn’t have.

Somehow, the wrong people always manage to see it.

Here are 10 people who learned that posting controversial or just plain dumb stuff online can cost them their jobs.

1) Woman in PR learnt a little about PR…


As she made the long journey from New York to South Africa, to visit family during the holidays in 2013, Justine Sacco, 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC, began tweeting acerbic little jokes about the indignities of travel.

She chuckled to herself as she pressed send then wandered around Heathrow’s international terminal for half an hour, sporadically checking her phone. No one replied, which didn’t surprise her. She had only 170 Twitter followers.

By the time Sacco had touched down, tens of thousands of angry tweets had been sent in response to her joke. She had also sent her entire career down the drain

2) FHM journos who thought rape was funny


The mens magazine fired two of its suspended journalists who made light of rape on Facebook and appeared to be less than fully repentant in their apology.

For Him Magazine (FHM) were horrified by the “incredibly offensive comments” that didn’t reflect its values and were hurtful and unacceptable.

The magazine dismissed its features editor Max Barashenkov and editorial assistant Montle Moorosi with immediate effect after it called them in for a hearing on Friday.

3) “Bitter Barista” snarks about boss on coffee blog

Matt Watson’s infamous coffee blog chronicled all the annoying facets of being a barista. It was gaining a lot of popularity until Watson was outed by coffee gossip blog Watson’s former boss told The Seattle Times that he was fired because he was writing about his place of employment during work hours. Watson is still at it, so a word to the wise: “If you remind me four times that you’ve ordered decaf guess what you won’t be getting…”

4) Bus driver posts on Facebook about hungry student

Georgia school bus driver Johnny Cook was upset after a student on his bus said he was denied lunch because he owed 40 cents. Cook wrote about it on his public Facebook profile; the school found out and asked Cook to apologize and remove the post. Cook wouldn’t do it, and was fired.

5) Denver math teacher tweets about her hot students and how she likes to smoke weed


The headline says it all for this one. Basically, Carly “@CarlyCrunkBear” McKinney, a tenth-grade math teacher, had a very controversial Twitter account that the school she worked for discovered. Her employers were not happy and placed her on administrative leave. Her students thought her racy photos and tweets about marijuana and club music were pretty cool, though, and protested online to get her back. She was fired in the end.

6) California Pizza Kitchen server complains about his uniform

Former California Pizza Kitchen server and social media butterfly “Timothy DeLaGhetto” aka @Traphik claimed he was fired for tweeting about how he didn’t like the company’s new uniforms. As he explained in his infamous YouTube video, black button-ups make his small frame look “tinier than it is.” Or, as he told his employer in a since-deleted tweet to its corporate Twitter account, “black button ups are the lamest s–t ever!!!”

7) Australian miners take on the ‘Harlem Shake’

Earlier in 2013 it seemed like everyone and their grandmothers were doing a version of “The Harlem Shake” dance craze. But when a video surfaced of miners in Australia convulsing and shaking around to Brauer’s hit song, their employers apparently weren’t pleased. They reportedly lost their jobs.

8) Female programmer publicly shames tech conference attendees for making sexist jokes

When two male attendees at software developer conference PyCon made a joke about “big dongles” and “forking,” a play on tech terminology, tech developer Adria Richards was none too pleased. She tweeted this picture, reigniting intense debate over sexism in programming and start-ups. The backlash was extreme. One of the men was fired. Richards received death threats and hackers exposed her private information before she was fired for “publicly shaming the offenders,” SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin said in a blog post.

9) Gilbert Gottfried pokes fun at Japanese tsunami victims


The comedian with an annoying voice was enjoying a career revival as the voice of the Aflac duck when he tweeted a few insensitive jokes about the 2011 tsunami in Japan. You be the judge:

“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.'”

Less than an hour after the jokes were posted on Gottfried’s Twitter account the insurance giant announced that he had been fired.

10) UK Politician tweets about elderly “coffin dodgers,” jokes about slavery


Stuart MacLennan was fired from a position in The Labor Party in Scotland after he posted a slew of offensive tweets. Among his multi-tweet tirade, MacLennan referred to the elderly as “coffin dodgers,” made jokes about slavery, and referred to the people around him at a restaurant as “chavs,” a pejorative term for working-class youth.

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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