A Few Degrees of Separation: On Scandals and Scapegoating

(Okay, I was looking to write this last week, but given everything that has been happening, I wanted to wait until I could properly, mentally process it all.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I’m not as active on there anyone. While I still go on there from time to time (and you might even be reading this via a tweet containing the link), it’s not as instantaneous as when I had the app on my mobile device. It’s better for me that way, as Twitter has come to be a very stressful, anxiety-ridden platform for me. And I’m so glad I made the decision to delete the app when I did, as I otherwise would have been bombarded with several notification alerts throughout the last week, regarding a scandal I had no involvement with.

Unless you have the privilege of living under a rock, then I don’t think I need to elaborate on what scandal I’m referring to. No, this is not going to be my two cents on the matter (there is more than enough of them out there already). Rather, this is about the uncalled for ramifications I got for having a few degrees of separation from one of the people who were involved in said scandal.

I know that I talk a lot about creative writing on here, but I want to take a moment and briefly discuss something about journalistic writing. Unless you’re writing an opinion piece or a review on a film or something, journalism is always done from an objective point of view. Whether that be a hardcore news piece, or in my case, a profile piece, opinions are non-existent aside from parties who’re interviewed. That’s why while people have a tendency to interpret news as good or bad, in the journalism field, it’s all just news.

The interpretation that I was portraying this person in a positive light was one of the several recurring remarks I got from the multiple nasty tweets appearing in my notifications, in the aftermath of the scandal officially going public. People behind avatars and identity-hiding usernames were coming after both me and the publication the profile piece was published on for creating it in the first place. Other remarks included the mockery of whether it also touches on their actions in the scandal, the article’s bad timing (even though it was published half a year ago), and in a few cases, racism.

Seeing all this come my way, it admittedly affected me mentally. It’s been hard to focus on anything else as of late. I had no knowledge that this scandal was going on, and yet, the way these horrible tweets were being phrased, it felt like I was at fault for it as well. In reality, it’s a byproduct of being a few degrees separated.

To all those who sent me those nasty tweets, this is for you: You have a right to be angry. I am too. But you had no business taking out your anger on both a small publication and one of its writers, who ultimately had nothing to do with what happened. If your goal was to prove some kind of point, the only one I got from your actions was that you appear to have a tendency to scapegoat others, and there’s already too much of that going on in our culture these days.

Also, let’s be really real for a sec: If any of you had the opportunity to say any of what you daringly tweeted at me to my face, I guarantee you you wouldn’t; which, in of itself, proves a whole other point. I don’t know if any of you consider yourselves fans of the company which was unfortunate enough to be dragged into this, but based on your actions last week, a true fan wouldn’t have even thought of doing any of that.

Let this message resonate with anyone reading this. Do not go around harassing people who have a few degrees of separation from those involved in a scandal. You don’t know their story, you don’t know whether or not they were involved. You might think you’re being noble for taking out your aggression like that, but at the end of the day, you’re no better than the perpetrator.

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