Megan Rants: Consequences for Living Online

Now more than ever we must understand that we are responsible for the things we say. There are consequences to living online and publicly spewing our every thought. We must be willing to face those consequences, or we need to keep our thoughts to ourselves. This might seem like a harsh reality to some, but it’s really not, it’s life.

The sad reality is that if you choose to live a life that involves you being in the public you are sooner or later going to face a negative reaction to something you say. When that happens no one is violating your freedom of speech they are simply responding.

If a company chooses to respond that is well within their rights. If you go on some tirade with bigoted overtones companies have the right to say they no longer want your support as a public figure. If you make “jokes” that are considered offensive companies are allowed to pull support from you. These are not freedom of speech issues. This is how business works. You don’t want a toxic brand representing your company so you do something about it.

Fans of these people that see this happen also must realize this is life, this is business. People have their right to their opinion, and the rest of the world has a right to react to that. Companies have the further right to say, “We don’t want you associated with us”, and pull whatever degree of support/partnership they offered to the person previously.

If you don’t disagree with the content of someone’s speech that has lost them endorsements, advertising, and various other things then that’s on you. However, you can still use this as a teachable moment. Everything we put online can be seen by others and everything will have consequences. We are used to the good consequences, the thumbs up, the retweets, but they aren’t the only ones that exist. Read your code of conduct clauses when you attend school or start a job. You are allowed to be fired for your facebook post, you are allowed to be kicked out of school because of a picture you posted on instagram. This doesn’t even have to do with politics but just everyday things. Make a post about how much you hate your job, even if you don’t mention them by name they can still terminate you for that. Complain about a costumer, but once again leave out specifics, they can still take action against you. Go to certain schools? Better not share pictures of you consuming alcohol with your friends. Everything you do online is something you have chosen to share with the rest of the world, and you will be subject to certain realities because of that.

Public figures know this. They know this well. So when they decide to say they don’t care and express certain opinions or viewpoints online they should know better than anybody that there is blow back for that. If they don’t like it then they should continue to keep it to themselves.

Beyond the teachable moment just the total hypocrisy of these moments blows me away. Somehow I am a snowflake for responding negatively to hate speech or offensive jokes. Yet, those that support those making these speeches and jokes aren’t snowflakes when a company says, “Yeah, we don’t like what you have to say so we don’t want you to be a face/voice for us”. Grow up this is how the real world works. If you say something that doesn’t line up with a company you are associated with, or can potentially damage that company, they will pull support. This is not an attack on free speech. Even if it was, you don’t care about free speech. If you did you would be lining up to protect the jobs of so called “feminazi’s” when they receive blow back. You would be the biggest crusader against people being sent death threats when they do or say something you don’t like. This may not apply to everyone, but for the vast majority of people you only give a damn about so called “free speech” issues when you like what the person had to say, like the person themselves, or just hate the people it upset.

Believe what you are going to believe. I am not going to change your mind in a blog post, and frankly I don’t have the time or effort to try. However, grow up enough to realize that consequences for what you say and do publicly are not some attack. It’s life. And shockingly while you’ve been ignoring it women, people of color, transgendered people, queer people, people of various religions, we’ve all been dealing with this too. We’ve all experienced some degree of negative consequences for simply being who we are, and we keep fighting because we believe in what we are saying and doing. Your failure to not do the same or understand it is all on you.

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