It seems to be all the rage now to dig up years-old tweets and get people in trouble for them. Mobs forced Several high-profile celebrities out of work and to apologize for Twitter jokes made years ago. Even though the jokes were simply tacky and in bad taste, and did not endorse or reveal disturbing behavior, people are still losing their livelihood over them. It is a symptom of our “call-out culture” where Internet dwellers want to attack and demean anyone they can to “pwn” and shame them. It is a sick part of our culture that I wish would go away.
The trend of tweet-shaming has come to WWE with two stars, Cedric Alexander and Tye Dillinger underfire for 6-year-old tweets making light of rape and sexual assault. Alexander went through and deleted all of his tweets and apologized.
Six years ago I found "humor" in bad jokes. At the time it was a harmless joke between friends. In those 6 years I've become a father, husband & grown into a much different man. I have offended and hurt many with my past and for that I am deeply sorry & apologize for my actions
— Cedric Alexander (@CedricAlexander) August 1, 2018
Dillinger also issued a sincere apology for the remark.
I have no excuse for my old tweets. I was a different person six years ago, and I’m beyond ashamed at what I considered “humor” . I’m so damn embarrassed and I’m truly sorry to anyone I’ve offended.
— TEN! TEN! TEN! (@WWEDillinger) August 1, 2018
That isn’t enough for some people, and many fear that the public pressure is mounting on WWE to fire the two.
I have this to say. WWE, please don’t fire people over tweets.
Because here’s the deal, anything can be offensive to anyone. So what? Words are words. Jokes are jokes. Let’s look at their actions. Alexander is a father. Dillinger is a beloved wrestler dating fellow SmackDown roster member Peyton Royce. And here’s the most significant point, NEITHER of them is accused of any sexual misdeeds or wrongdoing. You’re punishing people for words. Words that lead to nothing other than a few hurt feelings. Firing the two would cause more long-term harm than good. Here’s why.
Firing Alexander and Dillinger won’t solve the problem. Instead, it will encourage others to comb through old tweets of every wrestler and find any little thing that can be offensive. The heckler’s veto is powerful. Fans can and have used it for good, but that doesn’t mean that fans won’t use it for ill. Do you want to set the precedent that you can get in trouble for some silly throwaway tweet from over five years ago? WWE needs to ignore the crowd on this one.
In light of WWE bringing Hulk Hogan back in the fold, WWE would look hypocritical allowing Hogan to apologize while not giving Alexander and Dillinger their chance. Beyond that, there are several wrestlers in the Hall of Famer with offensive and criminal pasts. Would WWE be willing to erase their entire history of anyone of any wrongdoing? Would convicted rapist Mike Tyson be able to remain in the Hall of Fame?
WWE should allow Alexander and Dillinger to apologize and move on. Then they should shut out and ignore the trolls. The people digging up old tweets aren’t doing it to protect victims or raise awareness. They are doing it to destroy careers and lives. Internet trolls want to feel powerful, so they damage someone’s reputation for a thrill and validation. It is sick and silly, and I hope WWE doesn’t give in to the demands of these losers.