Your old tweets can and will be held against you

 

Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties, did I use anti-gay slurs as insults?  Yes, I did.  So did pretty much all of my classmates.  And, I’ll bet, so did you.

Gay rights have come a long way in a short time, and that’s a wonderful thing.  But if we’re going back through everyone’s old social media profiles to call them out for attitudes they held years ago – often when they were teenagers, and by definition irresponsible – count me out.

Kevin Hart withdrew from hosting the Oscars after people discovered his homophobic tweets from 2011.  I’m not sure the punishment fit the crime, any more than James Gunn’s off-color jokes should have cost him his job directing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but he was an adult when he wrote them.  What’s the excuse for going after Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray because of what he tweeted when he fifteen years old?

Newly minted Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is apologizing for anti-gay tweets posted to his Twitter account several years ago, when he was 14 and 15.

The Oklahoma quarterback tweeted: “I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15. I used a poor choice of word that doesn’t reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group.”

The tweets have since been deleted from the account of Murray, 21, who won college football’s most prestigious individual award Saturday night over Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.

Robby Soave on the new outrage industry:

I said it after Roseanne, I said it after Sarah Jeong, I said it after James Gunn, and I said it after Kevin Hart: It’s time to declare an end to the practice of mining people’s past social media comments for fire-able offenses. This holds especially true for comments made by minors. Murray was 14 and 15-years-old at the time he made these ill-advised remarks. People my age and older are very lucky that Twitter didn’t exist when we were adolescents. I guarantee that the various authors of these Kyler Murray stories all said something crude or offensive—or at the very least, something they would not want “resurfaced”—when they were in high school.

Unfortunately, modern America is increasingly a place that does not allow children to make mistakes. A schoolyard scuffle is a reason to call the cops and taser the teens involved. A messy romance merits sexual exploitation charges and sex offender status. A bad tweet is front page news.

Murray is going to be fine—he apologized swiftly, and it appears that a backlash of sorts is already forming. Next time, maybe the media could simply skip the step of trying to make everybody angry about such a stupid thing.

In the meantime, if Bradley Cooper wins an Academy Award for A Star is Born, he’d better be prepared to profusely apologize for this scene from The Hangover:

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