Scandal in 140 Characters: The Best TWITTER Melt-downs

We run down some of the most notorious examples of when Twitter goes wrong.

Newcastle United footballer Joey Barton supposedly tweeted his way to the effective cancellation of his contract at the club (though he will continue, he is available on a free transfer). And given the role that Barton's tweeting - along with club-fellow Jose Enrique, who was last week fined £100k (two weeks wages) for comments he made on the site - had in his new-found employment freedom, I thought it appropriate to have a look at other scandals that have hit the social networking site since it's grand opening in July 2006. Bit of fun as well...

Charlie Sheen Goes Batshit

Arguably the most famous of all of the Twitter melt-downs and easily the quickest to become horribly annoying when everyone jumped on the #winning and #tigerblood bandwagons, making something oddly more of Sheen's public break-down (and let's be honest, that's exactly what it was) than what it was. He only joined in March, believe it or not, and since then he has been responsible for some of the most lunatic comments ever to appear on the social networking site. I'm not going to reproduce any of them here, because who the hell needs to see any more of that tripe, really, but instead, here is my favourite celebrity response to Sheen's implosion: Follow Charlie Sheen's twitter here.

Scott Baio Insults The First Lady & Pretty Much Everyone Else

Scott Baio is a personal favourite high-point of the whole Twitter thing, since he uses the opportunity to reach his "fans" and educate them all on his colourful political ideologies. Baio regularly puts the world to rights, but he over-stepped the mark somewhat when he tweeted the following joke in response to seeing the picture that accompanies it of pretty much the most powerful woman in the whole world (apart from JK Rowling and Oprah)...
"WOW He wakes up to this every morning,"

Nice choice. Chaotic Twitter vengeance reigned pretty much immediately, including accusations of racism, which he brilliantly badly claimed was impossible as his "wife's best friend is black". Woops. And not content with that, in April Baio decided to air some more of his "informed" views on illegal immigration - a favourite topic of his - with the following choice nugget:

This clearly begs the question - where the hell is Scott Baio getting wages from to necessitate paying taxes? Follow Scott Baio on twitter here.

Unnamed Premiership Footballer Unceremoniously Named

This one's not exactly a melt-down, but the overall effect certainly wasn't the outcome that the footballer in question would have hoped for when he successfully gagged the media. Superinjunctions are all well and good when you're dealing with newspapers and media outlets you can actually control. But when it comes to trying to stop people on Twitter who know potentially damaging secrets about where you've been putting your winky it's not such a simple thing as threatening to sue the shit out of them. That's what Ryan Giggs found out when it was confirmed all over Twitter (and subsequently in Parliament by an MP who should be roundly applauded) that it was he who had been caught with his pants down with ex-Big Brother contestant and former Miss Wales Imogen Thomas - and then subsequently a few more ladies to boot.

Kevin Smith: Professional Suicide?

No-one does fan interaction quite like Kevin Smith, who rarely pauses to think what other people think about him (and more power to him there, I have to say). His first notable Twitter rant came in response to being kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for supposedly being "too fat to fly". The idea is ridiculous, given that he was seated quite nicely already when told to disembark, but Smith's reaction is now the stuff of legend:
"So, @SouthwestAir, go f*** yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no "safety risk" (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?)"
But Smith turned a lot of people off thanks to his venomous reaction to the poor press that Cop Out - the least Smithian of all of his films, and the poorest - received on release by almost everyone. Here's a summarised version:
"Seriously: so many critics lined-up to pull a sad & embarrassing train on #CopOut like it was JenniferJasonLeigh in LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN. Watching them beat the shit out of it was sad. Like, it€™s called #CopOut; that sound like a very ambitious title to you? You REALLY wanna shit in the mouth of a flick that so OBVIOUSLY strived for nothing more than laughs. Was it called €œSchindler€™s Cop Out€? Writing a nasty eview for #CopOut is akin to bullying a retarded kid who was getting a couple chuckles from the normies by singing AFTERNOON DELIGHT."
Obviously the rant misses the point that it wasn't just critics that hated Cop Out, or that reviews serve a valuable purpose in building hype on film releases (why else would PR companies actively ask for soundbites and star ratings for consideration on the Blu-ray cover?). Still, morbidly entertaining. Follow Kevin Smith on twitter here.

Baseball Player Is "Horribly Insensitive"/Racist

Saying things in the heat of the moment is never a good idea - especially when it involves your livelihood as a professional sportsman. But it's just plain silly to say something as idiotic and downright bigoted as pitcher Mike Bacsik decided to post on his twitter in response to the San Antonio Spurs victory over the Dallas Mavericks in an early round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, which isn't even his own sport. That's not to say that his comments (reposted below) would have been in any way forgiveable had they been in response to a loss in a game he was actually involved in, because let's be honest, this sort of thing is never forgiveable:

Needless to say, Bacsik was fired pretty swiftly after the tweet was posted (and then deleted), even despite his public apology on the same site. Bloody moron. Follow Mike Bacsik on twitter here.

Jose Canseco: "Eugenics FTW"

Believe it or not, there was a time when sports stars spent their free time innocently playing on their Playstations or engaging in enthusiastic sexual practices like dogging - but social networking put paid to all of that. Left to their own devices, some sportsmen take the initiative to share their knowledge of the world and opinions on how life could be improved, failing almost entirely to realise that their brains are usually woefully inadequate for such activities. Jose Canseco - genuine baseball icon - did that very thing, sharing his ideas on how to create a perfect race. I know, dangerous territory...
€œRemember the movie 300 that's tbhe way it should be get rid of the sh-- at birth would be a better world today.€
What Canseco seems to have missed is that any such programme would probably have ruled out his own genetic "perfection" as counter to the advancement of the species - since there's not much call these days to look exactly like Costas Mandylor. And that that "perfection" was at certain points during his career aided by the flagrantly illegal use of steroids. Follow Jose Canseco on twitter here.

Shock, Horror! Lee Ryan Can't Take Criticism

Remember Blue? You probably do, they were The Wanted before those ridiculously chiselled lads had even thought about pulling on their waistcoats and taking on JLS for chart glory. And they released duets with Elton John and Stevie Wonder - achievements that defy their recent antics of being generally quite obnoxious, posting near-nude photos of themselves or urinating on cash machines (not Simon Webbe - he's actually a very nice chap). Hardly appropriate behaviour for the once Princes of Pop, but then some of them - well just one of them really - already had a bit of a track record for ill-advised choices. Step forward Lee Ryan - believer in aliens, horrendously unsympathetic 9/11 commenter and general gobshite, who took umbrage at the audacity of one of his followers who criticised him, responding in the typically eloquent manner befitting a poetic artist:

Check out that politically correct follow-up tweet there as well. Crikey. You can follow Lee Ryan's twitter here.

David Slade Pre-emptively Bites The Hand That Feeds Him

Here's a tip to all aspiring film directors, with limited or no scruples over who will go on to finance your lavish lifestyle and probable Blu-ray addiction: don't insult any film franchise at all. Especially not on a public platform that millions of people will be freely able to see it. Because eventually that tweet will come back to bite you on the ass when those in charge of that franchise come to you with a job offer. But that never occurred to David Slade, director of the third in the Twilight franchise (and formerly Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night), who used his own Twitter account to criticise the entire Twilight universe:
€œTwilight drunk? No, not even drunk. Twilight on acid? No, not even on acid? Twilight at gun point? Just shoot me.€
And then wouldn't you know it, Slade got offered the gig, coming up with the frankly difficult-to-believe excuse that he hadn't yet read or seen any of the Twilight properties and had subsequently lost himself in the vampirey magic. Good save. But one last bit of advice, hastily deleting your account will probably only work if you haven't already regurgitated the offending tweet live during a radio interview. Just saying. You can follow David Slade on twitter here.

Chris Brown in Anger Issues Shock

Domestic abuse probably isn't the best way to cement your position as one of the rising stars of American R&B. But to follow it up with a misplaced rant at retailers who you wrongly believe are shunning your latest release (probably due to the afore-mentioned bout of violence) is just as silly when you're trying to get as high up the charts as possible. More likely it will lead to the kind of backlash that Chris Brown suffered when he tweeted the following, inviting a whole industry that he depended upon to do an unthinkable act:
€œim tired of this shit. major stores r blackballing my cd. not stockin the shelves and lying to costumers. what the fuck do i gotta do€ € WTF yeah i said it and i aint retracting shit im not biting my tongue about shit else€ the industry can kiss my ass."
The phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face seems extremely appropriate at this juncture. You can follow Chris Brown on twitter here. So there we have it, lots of mistakes and silliness - the beautiful marriage of public accessibility and egotism. Long may it continue, though frankly I can't see many managers allowing their charges to remain on the site, no matter what section of the entertainment industry they work in.

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