The Travel Channel star Adam Richman learned a very valuable (and potentially costly) lesson this week about the power of social media. He also learned something else he should have already known -- don't be a jerk.
The recently slimmed-down host of the cable show Man v. Food made a faux pas on Instagram, but instead of apologizing and moving on, he handled it in pretty much the worst way possible. He was offensive, disrespectful, and just downright cruel.
So what went down?
Richman has lost about 60 pounds after his hit show wrapped up its run. He posted a photo of his new body on Instagram using the tag #thinspiration. As it turns out (noted by XOJane writer Amber Sarah), that tag is used by pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia communities.
When an Instagram follower brought this misstep in tagging up to Richman, alerting him that the tag had negative and damaging connotations, Richman replied, "do I look like I give a f***?" and even told the critic, "grab a razor and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you." He also called the commenter the c-word. Yeah, he went there.
His reaction to the commenter went viral, and now he faces some pretty major consequences. Richman's upcoming show -- Man Finds Food -- has been "postponed indefinitely" by the Travel Channel.
He has since apologized, saying:
I've long since struggled with my body image and have worked very hard to achieve a healthy weight. Instead of responding to hurtful comments with compassion, I lashed out in anger. I'm not asking for sympathy, but rather understanding and forgiveness. I can say with certainty that I'm taking a deep look at myself and I'm incredibly sorry to everyone I've hurt.
But his apology comes way too late. The damage done to his career and his public persona is here to stay.
What is surprising is that he would publicly attack commenters in the first place. As a TV star, someone who does ads for family-friendly clients like Wal-Mart, he should really know better. With outbursts like this (and other notorious ones from Alec Baldwin for example), it seems like celebrities, whose careers depend on fans, should all be required to go through social media training. Most of all, though, they should just try not to be jerks.
Do you think that the potential cancellation of his show is too drastic?
Image via The Travel Channel