'I will not be apologizing,' says Joel North after Twitter tangle
North says he wasn't fired, but resigned from Coast 101.1 FM; prof warns of social media image
A former St. John's radio announcer has shared his response to the social media stir created by one of his tweets.
Joel North released a video on YouTube Monday to address the reaction he received after he tweeted to a local woman streaming herself playing video games that she would "get more viewers if [she] were stripping."
North said he wasn't sorry for what he tweeted and that those who called his tweet dismissive or "dehumanizing" implied that strippers are less valued as people.
This is my style of humour, and I've had plenty of support from friends and others.- Joel North
"I am shocked that women's groups would choose to react to my tweet in a way that portrays stripping in a negative light," he said.
"I will not be apologizing. Doing so would signify an insult to female strippers, whom I have the utmost respect for, along with all women."
North said his tweet was a "simple observation," and a joke that may have been distasteful to some people.
"This is my style of humour, and I've had plenty of support from friends and others who did find it funny," he said.
Resigned, not fired
North said he was not fired, but resigned from his position at Coast 101.1 to uphold the radio station's reputation.
"I refuse to bow to these people who seek only to inflate their own egos. I knew negative attention was coming, and I didn't want Coast to suffer," he said.
Someone losing their entire livelihood over a harmless joke sets a very dangerous precedent.- Joel North
"This was my sole reason for resigning."
He said his "harmless, frivolous joke" was not an example of sexual harassment, and that he has received numerous threats in recent days.
The tweet did not violate "any law, in any way" according to North, and was a form of self-expression on his part.
"The idea of someone losing their entire livelihood over a harmless joke sets a very dangerous precedent," he said.
"Free speech is something that we all need to fight for."
Watch what you say on social media
Lyle Wetsch, associate professor of marketing at Memorial University's business administration faculty, said this serves as a reminder people need to be careful what they say in a public forum and make sure they don't cross personal or professional boundaries.
Individuals need to be well aware of managing their online brand.- Lyle Wetsch
Employers need to ensure they have "very clear social media policies" for their workers, Wetsch said, and clearly communicate those rules to employees.
"Individuals need to be well aware of managing their online brand, because not only could it impact your current employment situation in one way or another, but it could also impact the potential for future situations," he said.
"Once things are on social media, they are there and people can find them and they can be re-shared even if they are attempted to be taken down. There's a trail that exists."
Even under the protection of free speech, Wetsch said there are guidelines people need to follow.
"It's fine to have a particular opinion, but when that opinion does impact your professional credentials and the organization, then it takes a little bit of a different stance."
With files from Carolyn Stokes