When social media campaigns go bad, they go REAL bad. On Nov. 10, Bill Cosby’s social media team invited users to create their own #CosbyMeme. Unfortunately for Bill, 77, the opportunity was used in a discussion of rape culture and the 14 counts of sexual abuse of which he has been accused.
Here’s a lesson in PR 101, kids: Don’t invite users to create memes or use hashtags about your client when there is even one fraction of ill will held against said client. Just don’t do it. On Nov. 10, Bill Cosby‘s social media team challenged users to create a #CosbyMeme using their own meme generator. It backfired, like, immediately, as Twitter used the opportunity to bring up the numerous rape allegations levied against Bill.
Bill Cosby’s #CosbyMeme: Twitter Hijacks Hashtag To Bring Up Rape Allegations
Here’s what Bill’s team tweeted on Nov. 10:
The tweet has since been taken down, as has the meme generator — that link now goes to Bill’s main site.
Above you’ll see just a small sampling of the #CosbyMemes, but a quick Twitter search turns up way more. (My personal favorite is the one which explains rape culture. Just a handy guide, really, for anyone who thinks it doesn’t exist.)
#CosbyMeme: Why This Is A Terrible Time To Try To Engender Goos Will Over Social Media
While the fourteen counts of sexual assault levied against Bill are old news, they were brought into the spotlight once again when biographer Mark Whitaker omitted them from Cosby: His Life And Times, a 500-page tome released in September. Mark insisted that since Bill was never charged, he didn’t want to “print allegations that [he] couldn’t confirm independently.”
The issue was further brought into focus when comedian Hannibal Buress‘ jokes about Bill went viral. “Bill Cosby has the f***ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate,” he said at a comedy club in Chicago on Oct. 16. “‘Pull your pants up, black people; I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby, so, turn the crazy down a couple notches.” Check out the full bit here.
Actress Barbara Bowman is the most recent accuser to come forward, alleging that Bill drugged and raped her.
This is a truly terrible time to attempt to drum up some goodwill using social media; the hijacking was bound to happen. This social media disaster is reminiscent of McDonalds’ “#McDStories,” which was their attempt to have Twitter users share their happy memories and stories about McDonalds. Of course, Twitter users hijacked it and used it to talk about the restaurant’s contribution to diabetes and heart disease in America, as well as its maltreatment of its workers. Oops.
So, HollywoodLifers, what did you think about the #CosbyMeme hijack? Let us know!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner