Experiencing humiliation is bad enough. But public humiliation played out through Twitter must be much, much worse -- especially when the humiliation centres around a tweet made by an employee of a PR company about a journalist.
Mufadal Jiwaji works, or he did until today, as a graduate trainee at Public Relations firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He has been working there since January 2012 so hopefully he might have some idea by now of who H+K Strategies works with as partners and clients.
He tweeted about Grace Dent, TV Critic at the Guardian and restaurant reviewer for the London Evening Standard who appeared on the TV program Have I Got News For You yesterday. Here is the exchange of Tweets:
@gracedent reminds me of a girlfriend I once had. By girlfriend I mean that time I accidentally made love to an ugly abhorrent racehorse #hignfy
... Grace Dent@gracedent
@Mufadal Hi there Mufadel. How much do you like your job at Hill and Knowlton?
Unreservedly withdraw my vulgar and puerile comment regarding @gracedent, especially in light of the bbc doc on internet trolls last week.
@Mufadal I'm wondering, as a public relations person for a firm I work with, what your thinking was in sending me this message?
@gracedent it was naive and ill-warranted. I won't delete it, as I ought to bare the full brunt of my idiocy.
@Mufadal You'll bear the brunt of your idiocy at 10am tomorrow morning when you're unemployed. Good luck.
H+K is keeping very quiet about the staff faux pas, understandably so. Twitter opinions tend to be divided fairly equally about the exchange. There are comments in agreement with Dent's action, saying that she stood up to Internet trolls. Others are lauding Jiwaji's swift apology and his acceptance of his humiliation.
Twitter accounts for both Dent and Jiwaji are quiet today as the Twitter furore about them begins to abate. But one of them seems contrite.
Seeing as I probably won't be getting much sleep tonight, it's probably wise to turn to Milton: 'sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek'
A painful PR and Twitter lesson swiftly learned...