Every argument has its grey areas – or does it? Calling these next three social media situations murky is difficult because some of the offenses at hand are widely perceived as unforgivable, no matter the context. A reminder, though: what we're hoping you get out of this series are lessons in social media etiquette.
Like we stressed in the inaugural post, we cannot give you a cut-and-dried guide to what's right and wrong, but we can present these examples that will help you further develop your own dos and don'ts specific to your brand. Still, though, you can safely file all three spats under "we wish it'd never happened."
Crazy Pills vs. Me Chinese: A battle between two disrespectfully named bands
While the argument officially began on Facebook last fall, it's not far-fetched to say Florida band Me Chinese set themselves up for disaster from the moment they chose their name. That somebody would be irked by it was inevitable, right? The group seemed taken aback, however, when Amanda B, frontwoman for New York group Crazy Pills, sounded off on Facebook about their inclusion in official CMJ Music Marathon shows. Me Chinese responded in a private message (which was shared by Amanda B) that sort of contextualized their name in an attempt to offer some reason. The entire Facebook thread has apparently been removed, but the details (and quotes) remain on Brooklyn Vegan, the blog that first reported the story.
Here's the thing, though: While Me Chinese is a problematic name (that's putting it nicely), Crazy Pills isn't exactly politically correct either. Many people who have experienced mental health problems and their allies find terms like that to be discriminatory or stigmatic.
FKA twigs responds to onslaught of racist abuse on Twitter
Gossiping about an artist or celebrity's love life is one thing; attacking him or her with hate speech is another transgression altogether. When rumors surfaced last fall that English experimental pop singer FKA twigs was dating Twilight star Robert Pattinson, opposed Twitter users hit hard – and below the belt – with supremely racist remarks. FKA twigs addressed the comments, as did her label, Young Turks.
I am genuinely shocked and disgusted at the amount of racism that has been infecting my account the past week.— FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) September 28, 2014
Racism is unacceptable in the real world and it's unacceptable online.— FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) September 28, 2014
The racist abuse @FKAtwigs is getting on her social networks is despicable and depressingly archaic.— Young Turks (@youngturksrec) September 28, 2014
Up to all of us to help educate the abusive parties on how hateful their views are and that social media actually links back to real people— Young Turks (@youngturksrec) September 28, 2014
In the meantime we can all report, block, and ban the abusive parties from social networks. Love all at YT.— Young Turks (@youngturksrec) September 28, 2014
Senses Fail calls out Attila for homophobic lyrics
When longstanding post-hardcore act Senses Fail heard the homophobic slur "faggot" shouted in “Proving Grounds” by Attila (a more metal-leaning act, but with whom they still likely have fans in common), they took to Twitter to express their disgust.
Instead of focusing on an attempt to clarify, Attilafrontman Chris "Fronz" Fronzak first replied with insults:
How many times can @ATTILAga insult the LGBTQ community in 3:00 min? I lost count.— Senses Fail (@SensesFail) October 22, 2014
If you think I'm homophobic in any way possible, you're clearly either an idiot or you're in a washed up band that nobody cares about— LORD ZILLA THE FIRST (@FRONZ1LLA) October 22, 2014
I hope when I'm old & shot I can find better ways to get press than to talk shit about bands half my age hahaha. I'm too smart for that.— LORD ZILLA THE FIRST (@FRONZ1LLA) October 22, 2014
The back-and-forth continued with Senses Fail asking Fronz to "think twice about using the word," which was answered with statements like "get over it" and "I honestly wish the whole world was gay." His responses didn't directly focus on justifying the lyrics until about six hours later when he tweeted an explanation of the song's meaning.
So, what do you think? How would you have handled these situations? Let us know in the comments below.
Be sure to check out the third part of this series on social media spats!
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.