What was 630 CHED thinking?
The Edmonton radio station posted a question on their Twitter account Thursday morning, asking followers whether they believe victims of sexual assault deserve any of the blame for what happens to them. (They have since removed the tweet.)
Not surprisingly, backlash to the tweet was fast and furious, with hundreds responding in anger and frustration.
@630CHED It's "controversial" like denying the Holocaust is. You vapid, trolling slime. This is part of why victims stay silent. Terrible.— Tommy Taylor (@TommyTaylor0106) April 10, 2014
.@630CHED You owe rape and assault victims a formal apology for that tweet & your FB status. Until that happens, I'm no longer a fan.— Kathleen Smith (@KikkiPlanet) April 10, 2014
Many followers said they would no longer listen to the radio station, and the station's advertisers were brought into the fray.
— Dónal O'Beirne (@DonoYEG) April 10, 2014
Even Tory MLAs expressed their disappointment over the question, with Minister Thomas Lukaszuk going so far as to suggest the government pull their advertising.
Two hours after the original tweet, 630 CHED began to explain their misguided question. The poll, they explained, was inspired by a recent panel discussion about rape culture where victim blaming was discussed.
“People will say things like, maybe if she hadn’t gone out that late at night, or maybe if she wasn’t dressed a certain way this sort of thing wouldn’t happen to her. Basically it boils down to objectification of the victim, and the focus being very much on the complainant rather than on the actions of the accused and their behaviour," Staff Sgt. Shawna Grimes explained to CHED.
We're sorry. This morning, we tweeted a poll that lacked context. That was wrong, and people are understandably upset. (1/2)— 630CHED (@630CHED) April 10, 2014
CHED Brand Director Syd Smith went on air to apologize.
"I am sorry ... What we did and the tweet that we sent out was wrong. That question, void of context, would make me angry — coming from our station or another media outlet," he said.
There's no doubt the station has learned from their error and over time listeners will forgive and forget. But as the Edmonton Journal's Paula Simons succinctly put it:
"If you get a cabinet minister threatening to pull government ads from your station, or hundreds of people tweeting you to call you an insensitive boor? Well, you have only yourself to blame."
Check out more reaction from Twitter in the slideshow below
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