Wednesday, September 5, 2012

UPDATE WPLG Channel 10 in Miami Engages in Cyber Bullying towards Star Wars Fans

Thank you to Garrett Wells (from I'm assuming The Redback Garrison in Australia) for creating this great meme.

UPDATE 09/07/12:

An apology has been issued....finally!  
in a written statement from  Rob  Semos, 501st Legion - FL Garrison PR Officer informed me that:
"Brian Troyan - The 501st Legions PR Officer has said, The 501st Legion has officially accepted both the author and the station managers apologies. we have had a very positive phone conversation with the station manager yesterday and we had established a solid line of direct communication between Legion PR and the station."
I would personally like to ask that you do not comment any more on the WPLG Local 10 Facebook and website regarding this situation.  The more people harass Local 10, the more the Star Wars fans end up lookin the the bullies we were rallying against.
Thank you,
Elvira A.K.A. Pink Sith



UPDATE 09/06/12:

As of 8AM this morning, a lot has transpired since I originally posted this at 3 PM yesterday.
First of all the WPLG website took the slide show down.  Thank goodness.  But remember, nothing can ever be truly deleted from the interwebz.  Want to still see it, it's out there. You just have to know where to look.
Like right HERE  Thank you to Dave Bouressa for the link.

Just because you take something down from a website doesn't mean it's gone.  Amateurs!   Plus there were screen shots of the whole debacle stored on the web. Like these ones found in the Facebook group WPLG Local 10 Owes Star Wars Fans a Formal Public Apology.  There you can see screen shots of many slides.  

So after taking down the offending slide show, and after a few hours of more irate comments on the WPLG Facebook page, the administrator for the WPLG Facebook page issues an "apology".   




That's not really an apology. It was insincere and smacked of defiance.  Like having to apologize because your mom made you do it, but having to say it in front of your buddies so you word it juuuust so. That way you save face with your cool bros and make mom happy too.  Only Mom isn't an idiot and reminds you that your apology was BS and calls you on it.
So what do you do?
Well you delete the apology of course!
Yup.  Only minutes after posting it, WPLG deleted it from their Facebook page.  Brilliant! (not)

So what next?
More irate comments. More outrage at the non-apology. The actual slide show link being active and non active at intermittent times, more anger. a Change.org petition, a Facebook Group, more comments.

Then this:
click to enlarge

Here is the link mentioned in the last comment of the image above

I love WPLG's canned "response".  The use of "quotation marks" really "hits home" with me. I "adore" the use of "quotation marks" when completely "unnecessary"  In fact. Perhaps I should "refer" this little snippet to the "The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks".  Seriously?  This "response" was cut and pasted on several other comments for about an hour.
As seen here too:



WPLG is also deleting comments on their Facebook page that are not germaine to other posts. Like for example. when they posted their "Facebook Friend Of The Day" a few people, a friend of mine in particular, pointed out that WPLG is making more enemies than friends.  Now what my friend, Natalie, posted was cordial, well written and had no profanities in it.  Yet WPLG deleted her comment.  WHY?

click to enlarge
Just shameful.  NEWS organizations deleting comments that are neither profane or libelous is inconceivable.

I did find out that while WPLG may show NBC programming, it is not part of the NBC News family.  So I have amended my post below.  



What I did find out, and what embarrasses me even more, is that The Washington Post  (my local paper) is affiliated with this sham of a news station.  I have e-mailed Washington Post PR to ask exactly what their "Partnership" is with WPLG Local 10. Once I hear back I will amend my tweets and suggestions as to what you can do to help.

This whole "joke" has turned into such a PR disaster for WPLG Local 10 I'm not sure they even know how to recover from it.  This would be an excellent lesson for anyone teaching a class on Social Media and what NOT to do.  That's for sure.

What to do?  Sign the Change.org petition (Added to my "what can you do" list below), then read THIS:
THIS is the type of person that WPLG was making fun of.  A heart warming story and there are thousands of other stories like this from members of the 501st.


click to enlarge


ORIGINAL POST 09/05/12




I know this post is not related to makeup, but I would appreciate your attention all the same.

It was recently called to my attention that a ABC affiliate station, WPLG Local 10,posted a slide show on their website making fun of fans that attended the recent Star Wars Celebration 6 in Orlando, Florida. The slide show featured pictures of real people, not celebrities, who had the GALL to attend a Star Wars convention, dressed in their favorite Star Wars costumes.  Can you imagine? [insert sarcasm here].  The Slide show commentary refers to the people photographed as geeks (in a snide way), virgins, dateless, losers and a variety of other insults.  Here are a few things they wrote as captions for photographs:
"Being a Star Wars geek pretty much means you'll get no lovin'... being a Star Wars geek that wears these pajamas guarantees it."
"These were a group of guys that spent the entire weekend jumping in to other people's pictures. It was MUCH lamer than it sounds."
"Poor kids... they were never given a chance. Geekdom is in their genes."
"Here's a shocker... it's dudes taking pics of the fake Princess Leias. Like they've never seen a woman before. Well, hmmm..."
"A reproduction of their prom picture... no girls."
"Dateless men for as far as they eye can see. "
Disgusting.
Can you imagine the new a-hole I would rip this station if they captioned my son's Boba Fett costume?
This is cyber bullying plain and simple. Cyber bullying is defined as:
a) actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others.
b) use of communication technologies for the intention of harming another person
c) use of internet service and mobile technologies such as web pages and discussion groups as well as instant messaging or SMS text messaging with the intention of harming another person.

What terrible wrong did the people in the captioned pictures commit?  Nothing.  They simply attended a convention dedicated to Star Wars.  They assumed that were in a safe environment, free from the judgement of people that just don't understand fandom.  They were wrong.  Apparently WPLG, an ABC affiliate, felt it was acceptable put down people for having fun, expressing their creativity and oh yeah, RAISING $50,150.00 FOR MAKE A WISH!

Yes. That's right.  A number of the people this cyber bullying-esque slide show was aimed at are members of the 501st.  The 501st is dedicated to brightening the lives of those less-fortunate.  Member spend their time and hard earned money into costumes. They drive all over for appearances and spend endless hours volunteering just to bring something special to someone who has very little special things in their lives.  And guess what, They do this all with NO RETURN on the investment they have made. One of their most recognized and favorite charities of the 501st is Make-a-Wish.  I am extremely proud to say that my husband, Mr. Sith, is a member of the 501st Legion.  And even though he recently joined, he has already participated in several events (some of them were at the Star Wars Convention mocked in that slide show) to raise money for various charitable organizations.  


My husband, a proud member of the 501st.  WPLG mocking others at the convention means they essentially mocked him!  Trust me. You do not want to mock him. He's a big dude.
So the question remains.  Why did WPLG, an ABC affiliate, think it would be acceptable to ridicule people raising money for sick and terminally ill children?  It just goes to show you that this slide show was created and approved by people that have no idea What Star Wars fans are, Who they are, and Why they do what they do.  Of course that's just the basis for creating a news story Who, What, Why...but I guess I am expecting too much from such a poorly run station.

Oh but at the end of the slide show there was this little gem:

"And in full disclosure... it should be said that the person who put this slideshow together, and wrote ALL the captions, attended Star Wars Celebration VI (their second Celebration event) as a full-paying fan and lover of all-things Star Wars."

So that makes it OK?  Because you have someone that claims to be a fan and attendee of Star Wars Celebration, it's OK to be so mean spirited, insulting and rude?  Wrong.  A REAL fan would NEVER write such terrible things about other fans.  A REAL fan would not put down other fans based on their costumes, or features, gender or perceived sexual status.  A REAL fan would not be so cruel.  Poking fun and making a few jokes is one thing but using demeaning statements about the people in those photographs is just plain bullying. 



You gonna mock me? I have a Hello Kitty Mandalorian Helmet. Therefore your argument is invalid!

Apology issued so nothing more to do at this time. Nothing to see here Move along.

46 comments:

  1. I saw this earlier through Wired's GeekMom blog, and it made me sick. I messaged that station through FB and asked them to take it down or re-caption it. Way to go, getting the word out to other fans. And give your resident 501st legionnaire and geeklet hugs from the random internet Star Wars and Nail Polish geek lady!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment here and on FB. Hugs have been given to Mr. Sith and Darthypie on your behalf!

      Delete
  2. Let it be noted that the "And in full disclosure..." card was added AFTER all this controversy started, and the references to The 501st later still. At this point, it is not just about the idiot that wrote this, but the idiot above him/her (I am betting on him) that approved this and then did not have this pulled...

    ReplyDelete
  3. If the author were, as stated, a "full-paying fan and lover of all-things Star Wars," why did he call C6 an "annual convention" at the very beginning of the story? C1 was in 1999, so Celebration is, at best, a bi-annual event. Interesting to note, though, that there was never a name attached to the piece at all. Someone a little scared of the backlash?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. No name, no mention that SWC is not held annually in Orlando. Good point! Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  4. Linky link doesn't work. Looks like it's no longer at that location on the server.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. The link does not work. It has been taken down.

      Delete
  5. I looked through the slide show and couldn't believe those comments! I was hoping the link was still up just so I could look at the photo of the stroller turned speeder bike, my husband liked the concept and would love to have one :) But I think it is good that they took it down but they offended soo many people that I don't think there is anything they can really do to make up for it.

    P.S. I really want your Hello Kitty Mandalorian Helmet! It is amazing! My husband wanted to add a little note that your son in his Boba Fett costume is EPIC!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That stroller turned speeder bike was awesome. I think Mr. Sith got a pic of an infant stroller turned Sand Crawler. Mr. Sith made my HK Mando helmet for me. I'm still working on a proper costume. How cool wopuld it be to get in the Mandolorian Mercs w/ that helmet? And Thankyou to your husband on the comment for Darthypie. :-)

      Delete
  6. So sad - and what these douchebags don't realize is that we are awesome. Star Trek, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Alien, Game of Thrones, Dune, Conan the Barbarian, James Bond - all of these worlds parallel our lives and the common thred of basic human struggle, and teaches that story in a way we can all relate to. What tried to be snarky failed and sounded and came across as downright mean and uncool. UN-COOL. Don't you guys know that geek is sexy? Smart is sexy? You're the losers. Like Quagmire. From Family Guy. Clueless and alone.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They disabled the "Message" option on their Facebook page, which briefly had an apology posted. The apology was about as sincere as you would imagine it would be from this bunch of inept clowns, and after getting irate comments on it they pulled it down. I'm trying to find a list of companies that sponsor WPLG so I can let them know what a horrible network they're running there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rich. I have updated my post thanks to your comment. I appreciate it.
      Here is a list of Sponsors for WPLG
      www.eldoradofurniture.com/
      www.lexus.com
      thelaw.tv/broward/
      www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com/
      www.pioneerroofingfl.com/
      www.servpro.com/
      www.countryinnpetresort.com/
      www.southfloridahondadealers.com/
      www.williamsoncadillac.com/HomePage
      www.videorelay.com
      www.floridacitygas.com
      www.brandsmartusa.com
      www.diongenerators.com
      www.pioneerroofingfl.com

      Delete
  8. https://www.facebook.com/groups/142539569221352/
    https://www.change.org/petitions/wplg-local-10-miami-fl-star-wars-fans-deserve-a-formal-public-apology

    We're fighting back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! Thank you. Signed, posted, Facebooked and to be tweeted soon!

      Delete
  9. Thak you for posting this! There is a FB page requesting a formal public apology from WPLG and a petition.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/142539569221352/142575392551103/?comment_id=142588925883083&notif_t=group_comment#!/groups/142539569221352/

    https://www.change.org/petitions/wplg-local-10-miami-fl-star-wars-fans-deserve-a-formal-public-apology

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for posting a link tot he group Gary. I have added it to my update!

      Delete
  10. What on earth?! The people who captioned the photos with these mean, dated comments must be cultural dinosaurs! If they would come into this century they'd know that fandom and geekdom are for everybody now and nothing to make fun of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you believe it? So lame and so unprofessional.

      Delete
  11. I was in that slide show. I signed the petition and that nasty person should be charged and fired for bullying.
    Ps speeder stroller frikken awesome, my kid is going to have some thing like that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WPLG owes you a personal apology. And yes. That Stroller/Bike was beyond awesome

      Delete
  12. Pink Sith:

    I would like to use your article as the basis for a letter intended to be sent to the sponsors of WPGL to inform them on how this station is spending their money.

    I am asking your permission.

    Please contact me
    minder_rt@hotmail

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am a prospective member of the Mandalorian Mercs costuming group of MI, and seeing this many people rally to the defense of the costumers at Celebration makes me proud to join up. We work closely with the 501st and the Rebel Legion groups around the state and I've worked as non-costume support for all three groups, and seen firsthand the smiles these guys and gals bring to the kids. Not to mention, you know, the money they raise towards children's charities. I'm a fan of Star Wars, but I'm a much bigger fan of making a difference in the lives of children. How ANYONE could make fun of a group of people who do that, especially a professional news station, is beyond me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I hope you get approved soon! Continue the great work you are doing. :-)

      Delete
  14. Bullies & trolls feed on this sort of reaction. Even at school, the kids that get picked on are the ones perceived as weak, the ones who cry. I personally would just let this sort of thing go. Yes, these same losers will continue for the next few similar events, but eventually, they'll go away, since they're looking for a "rise" from people, as they are the ones seeking attention and/or validation. The fact this has merited a petition on change.org just provides more fodder for these idiots at this station. I say, don't feed the trolls; let them starve, and then they'll go away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. While I may not agree 100% with you, I do agree that my protesting will not change the minds of those that thought the slide show was appropriate. However, I also believe that
      1) That slide show posted by what was deemed to be a legitimate news source, sets a bad example to others that it is OK to make fun of people's individual self expression in an area where it is considered appropriate to dress up/express oneself
      2) IF the slide show was posted on a personal blog or personal Facebook page I personally would not have been upset about it because it is one person's opinion and most likely a troll. By a News Station posting the slide show under the NEWS header just seemed to imply legitimacy to biased opinions.
      3) I believe strongly that Silence = Consent.
      "The maxim is "Qui tacet consentire": the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented."
      —Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons

      I voiced my opinion. And you have voiced yours and we are neither the worse for it. But unlike you and I we didn't do it by degrading someone's gender, weight, virginity, hobbies, etc.

      Delete
  15. As a mom of a little boy who loves Star Wars and wears his costumes any given day of the year, I'm appalled. As a human being, I'm appalled. These are people having fun. Why would anyone be so mean about people having a good time? What if my little boy asked me if we could look at the pictures and I had to explain to him why people were saying such mean things?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Of course I have not told my son about it because he's only 5 and why worry his sweet little head. I just hope that by the time he is old enough to read this whole thing will be resolved. That's said tongue in cheek. because it looks like WPLG is never going to apologize. :-/

      Delete
  16. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. My husband, kids and I are all huge Star Wars fans, and I would jump at the chance to go to a convention like this! I am absolutely sickened by the actions of WPLG. What happened to news networks being unbiased and professional? The slideshow was bad enough, but the Facebook apology they issued and deleting comments just made the whole thing worse. My husband and I both signed the petition, and I hope the network comes forward with a real apology.

    I think your hubby is awesome for being in the 501st, what a neat thing to be involved in. Give him a high five for me! I really appreciate what he, and the rest of the 501st, are doing. So great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nikki:
      Thanks for your comment and thank you for the compliment on my husband. I think he's pretty awesome too!

      I believe the next convention is in Essen Germany and then Japan and then Back in the US. Maybe you can go to the next con!

      Delete
  17. I signed the petition. I also vented to them on FB. I had a really hard time b/c they are censoring their comments & deleting posts that are relevant to this issue. I finally just started posting my vent on unrelated topics (they don't allow you to simply post to their wall...hmmm). After I posted via cut'n'paste to a few unrelated posts, my posts were unable to post anymore. I'm being censored. Here's my post:
    "People who like Star Wars aren't the people you hope to make them out to be. I'm offended by your insulting captions. You have made fun of pretty much everyone except for people of other colors and people with mental disabilities. What...didn't have the guts to take it that far? "
    Thanks for making me aware of this issue. Even though I'm temporarily located in the general area (Miami), I wouldn't have been aware of this. And BTW, my hubby loves SW, as do I, my 2 sons (ages 18 & 12) and at least one of my 2 daughters (she's 7, the other is only 4 and is only mildly impressed although she is named Mara Jade...as in MJ Skywalker). Ummmm, yeah, 4 kids. Guess my hubby isn't a SW geek virgin who never got a date! I happen to think he's freakin' awesome & hot, and my kids happen to think he is the coolest dad ever. Not that I have to prove anything to you, I know. It just had to burst out of me somwhere! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jean:
      Sorry you got the ban hammer from the Facebook page. I just got it too. Oh well. It's obvious they don't care and don't think they did anything wrong. Not that I expecyed to change their minds, but jeez. Censoring comments? Not cool.

      Delete
  18. Nerds are very self-deprecating, but all this shit is getting very, very old. Like... so what? I'm sure these assholes sit at home wanking off and playing COD like everyone else, what's the difference? And OMG, RAISING $50K FOR DYING CHILDREN, LOLOLOL! Yep, those people are NEVER going to get laid because they're clearly assholes.

    At the end of the day, yessss, we have 8,000 versions of table top SW RPGs, have lightsabers hungs on our walls and stay up till stupid o'clock painting minis, but we also go to clubs and bars and gigs and, shock horror, have sex. Yawn.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So ridiculous. I can't believe this passed an editor's desk as "News." Dressing up and having a good time doesn't hurt anyone so live and let live! I don't have a clue about Star Wars but I'm a huge Harry Potter geek and we get made fun of, too! Keep on keepin' on!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Here is the address and number for the PR person at The Washington Post Company that owns the small company that runs WPLG

    The Washington Post
    1150 15th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20071
    202.334.6000
    Kris Coratti

    Fill her voice mail with comments.
    Director–Public Relations/Communications

    ReplyDelete
  21. In the absence of a sincere apology, I might find myself calling the businesses that advertise on this station. There is nothing quite like a hit to the pocketbook to make people reexamine their sincerity. Also, I know that Wil Wheaton is Trek, not Wars, but this is the kind of incident that he would speak out against. Has anyone tweeted him? Good luck... May the force be with you. ~liz

    ReplyDelete
  22. Just a little something... It wasn't just members of the 501st that got picked on. The Sith Twi'lek is an official member of The Dark Empire. And Mandalorians from Mandalorian Mercs. And I believe the Ben Kenobi costumer is probably a member of Rebel Legion. It's not just 501st but also other costuming club members that were targeted. I could not attend CVI, and no doubt I would probably have been singled out too being a heavy set costumer. But being a bullied child, I find this even atrocious, irresponsible and very immature as well as lacking moral judgement and professional conduct.

    I doubt WPLG10 will be apologizing any time soon. A shame. They just shot their own foot.


    Dawn Momsen/A'den Ca'tra/Lady Ardor TDE109

    ReplyDelete
  23. It seemed that the station was willing to correct this wrong. It now seems they do not. Several additional emails have been sent with no reply. I am asking for everyone to be civil, no name calling or swearing. If anyone receives correspondence from the station, please point them to me and The 501st Legion PRO.
    http://www.surveytool.com/create-poll/

    ReplyDelete
  24. What killed me the most is how they responded like children. Then there were some people saying that "nerds have no sense of humor" (who knows it that wasn't the station's employees posting that?) . But the issue is A. It just wasn't funny. B. It was a terrible job of being news.

    If mainstream news wants respect, they shoudl try being more responsible than the log of a petulant 12 year old.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Broadcast stations in US are licensed and must operate in the public interest. You you could write formal letters of complaint that must go in their public file, which is reviewed when there license renewal comes up. You can try the FCC, but don't think they violated any law. If they really don't apologize, post notices to their advertisers you won't support their business and ask them to join your cause.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Apparently this has been settled. From the Facebook group above.

    Rob Semos
    if any of you run any blogs or provide content for a website that has been following the Local 10 situation, could you please update your content. Brian Troyan - The 501st Legions PR Officer has said, The 501st Legion has officially accepted both the author and the station managers apologies. we have had a very positive phone conversation with the station manager yesterday and we had established a solid line of direct communication between Legion PR and the station.

    If you have any links to Local10s Facebook Page, web site or emails could you please remove them at this time.

    Thank you

    Rob Semos
    501st Legion - FL Garrison PR Officer

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your Hello Kitty Mandalorian Helmet brings me joy. Pure, unadulterated joy.

    ...Definitely sharing this with a friend who was raised on Star Wars (and loves all things HK).

    So, thank you. Brightened my day, and she's sure to go a bit gleefully insane.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I was just waiting for the apology and I'm glad it came. It's just to horrible that even in our social media sites, bullying still persists. I'm glad the issue has been resolved.

    ReplyDelete

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