A woman loses her internship at NASA after swearing on social media

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

In yet another unfortunate example of how not to behave on social media because your prospective employers might hold it against you or fire you, a woman was recently fired for using foul language when she tweeted “Suck my d*ck and b*lls” to Homer Hickam, a NASA engineer, veteran and author, Buzzfeed.com reports. Basically a legend within the space sector.

Naomi H’s initial tweet expressed a tremendous amount of excitement because she was given the prestigious work opportunity. The furore first started when she tweeted “Everyone shut the f*ck up. I got accepted for a NASA internship.”

The tweet went viral, but it took a negative turn when Homer Hickam chastised her for her use of foul language. In response to his tweet, she told him to “Suck my d*ck and b*lls.

Social media has been pretty divided on this one. 

On the one hand people have been criticising Homer for tone policing, but on the other hand, many have criticised Naomi because of her lack of decorum and unprofessional response to a respected legend in the field, as well as the fact that she didn’t know who he was.

Interestingly enough, it turns out Naomi and Homer worked things out and that she wasn’t fired because NASA saw Homer’s response; in fact, Observer.com reports that Homer set the record straight in a blog post and revealed that he wasn’t bothered by her language usage, but he was worried that his superiors might be.

And it turned out that he was right. Buzzfeed adds that Homer mentioned in his post that long after his tweets were deleted, her posts actually got the attention of the hiring agency because of the hashtags that were posted by friends.

READ MORE: Are DMs and retweets a creative new way to apply for jobs or get funding?

In fact, he also goes on to add that he’s trying to help her get a position back in the field.

But of course, this brings in the debate again about how careful people should be when they’re posting content online. While this situation has the potential to have a happy ending, it’s not the case for others.

Here on our own shores, Adam Catzavelos is currently dealing with the fallout over his racist video that recently went viral

While you’re an individual on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, there is an unspoken rule that your employer or prospective employer views your activity reflected as a representative of the company’s brand. 

Anything they construe as being damaging and that affects them is going to make them think twice about hiring you or having you remain in their employ.

But Naomi and Adam aren’t the first people who’ve been fired because of their social media (and somehow we doubt they’ll be the last) – the 10 people below prove that ill-thought tweets or video posts had awful consequences.  

1. Nicole Crowther

This Glee extra decided it would be a great time to showcase her fifteen minutes of fame by tweeting a major spoiler for the musical series' Prom King and Queen episode.

The producer hit back and it's safe to say her fifteen minutes of fame were decidedly short-lived.

2. Penny Sparrow

Who could forget the estate agent who caused an uproar after her post on Facebook, in which she denigrated black people, went viral.

According to City Press, the long-since deleted post resulted in her being taken to court where she was found guilty of crimen injuria and subsequently fined R150 000.

3. Defamation is not a cute look

You don’t have to go viral in order for you to get fired. You apparently just need to be friends with your co-workers and post inflammatory remarks about your boss.  

In a case reported by The Mail & Guardian back in 2009, an administrative clerk at a clothing factory was fired after he was reported by a co-worker for a Facebook post in which he called his boss a “serial masturbator.”

Bad-mouthing your boss is never a good look but slandering your boss based on your opinion is even worse. 

4. Caitlin Davis

A New England Patriots cheerleader got booted off the squad after a rather distasteful photograph taken at a Halloween party at Boston College surfaced. The picture featured 18 year-old Catlin holding a Sharpie marker, sitting next to an unconscious party-goer, covered in crude graffiti which included two swastikas!

Needless to say the Patriots were not so cheery about that.

WATCH:14 people fired because of their social media posts

5. Carly McKinney

Let's rather call her Crunkbear, a first-year math teacher at Overland High School in Aurora was suspended after her very controversial Twitter account was discovered. The 24 year old's social media bio read as follows "BearCrunker than most. Stay sexy. Stay high. Stay drunk. Stay free. Stay trippy." 

It also features a series of racy tweets and pictures of the teacher semi-naked. Carly claimed the account was meant to be a parody of her life.

However, the board made it clear that staff should not post anything on the internet that they wouldn't want pinned on their classroom blackboard. Carly has since been fired.

READ MORE: 14 times the internet was made a better place

6. Chadwin Reynolds 

According to school investigators, school teacher Chadwin allegedly “friended” six female students on Facebook and thought it would be appropriate to comment "This is sexy" on several of their photos.

On one occasion he found a student’s number and sent romantic gestures her way.

The 37 year-old made it clear to his fellow friends that: "I'm not a gynaecologist, but I'll take a look inside." Mr Reynolds was dismissed and the Department of Education confirmed that he had been cut loose because of this social-networking scandal.

7. Justine Sacco

No one will ever be able to forget the former Public Relations director’s offensive tweet that spawned the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet.

The tweet, News24 reports read as follows: “Going to Africa, hope I don’t get Aids. Just kidding. I’m white!”

Needless to say the welcome she received when she arrived in South Africa following that tweet was decidedly frosty and she was subsequently fired from her position for not only making a racist joke but for making light of the Aids plight in Africa.

It just goes to show that not even those who work in PR are immune to social media fails.

8. Nonhle Thema

The great Twitter meltdown of 2012 which read like a misguided teen’s notepad. Nonhle had a lot to say to her alleged “haters” and those tweets landed her in trouble with her employer, SoftSheen-Carson. The TV personality conveniently forgot that once you're the face of something, Dark&Lovely in her case, there are certain standards to be upheld.

9. Mike Bacsik

A Dallas sports radio producer/personality tweeted a rather insensitive racial remark; "Congrats to all the dirty Mexicans in San Antonio." Mike who is a former major league pitcher was suspended at first and then fired after the tweet went viral on national TV.

Note: Racist comments are never funny. Ever!

10. Vicki Momberg

Yet another estate agent who found herself in hot water and the subject of viral scrutiny, although not by her own hand. According to News24.com, Vicki Momberg was found guilty of four counts of crimen injuria following a racist tirade that was caught on camera.

The incident took place after a smash and grab robbery, when police came to her assistance and Constable David Mkhondo, a black police officer found himself at the end of her vicious verbal tirade.  

It’s also worth noting that News24 goes on to add that this instance wasn’t the first time she was charged for being racist. Big surprise there.

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