So if you live under a rock and haven’t heard about this yet… earlier today clothing designer Kenneth Cole tweeted about #Cairo, Egypt while promoting his line of clothes. Some thought it was funny, most thought it was insensitive and in poor taste. TechCrunch described it as “Setting a New Bar for Social Media Stupidity“.
While I’m sure Kenneth Cole was just trying to be funny since he does quite often mix politics and promotions… this might have been a little too early for something of this nature. Within minutes thousands were replying to him showing their disgust in mixing the tragedy going on in Egypt with a promotion to sell his clothing/shoes.
Here’s the tweet if you haven’t seen it…
Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo – KC
While some think it’s not a big deal and that people and the media are overreacting the problem I and many others have is he’s using a world tragedy for an attempt at business gain and exploiting the people in Egypt that are going through this. This is evident by his use of the hashtag #Cairo. It probably would have been viewed in bad taste anyways, but that put it over the top.
Kenneth Cole has responded twice now to the outrage first on his Twitter account shortly after his original tweet. It says…
Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment -KC
I have removed this morning’s tweet. Please visit this link to see my apology. http://on.fb.me/fCSf5Z -KC
He then responded on Facebook with an apology which reads…
I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.
Kenneth Cole, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
Probably the biggest news that came out of all of this is the creation of a parody Twitter account called @KennethColePR.
In less than 4 hours it went from 0 – over 4000 followers which should soon pass the real Kenneth Cole Twitter account in followers and was created to poke fun at Mr. Cole for such a ridiculous tweet in the first place. There’s probably about 20 or so updates many of which people are having a good laugh at. Some have definitely crossed the line too, but I’d imagine it’s by a comedian trying to show how stupid Mr. Cole was in his original tweet.
Here’s a sample of recent Tweets from that account.
So what do you think? Are people overreacting or is the backlash justified? I personally think he crossed the line when he added the #Cairo hashtag which many are using along with the #Egypt hastag to follow along with journalists and loved ones in the area. It’s not the end of the world, but you’d expect better judgement from someone running a major company.