How do you recover from a Facebook rant that goes viral?

Last week, yet another Atlantan got caught up in a social media minefield…and lost a job as a result.

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Christine McMullen Lindgren, an Atlanta-based personal banker who posted racist comments on Facebook, was fired from Bank of America after the post went viral on Facebook and Twitter.

While businesses or celebrities may employ online reputation recovery firms to pull them out of a social media morass, everyday individuals attempting to bounce back from an online faux pas may not have the same resources.

“If someone were to call us with this type of issue, we would tell them that we couldn’t help them,” said Wally Halicki of Arizona-based Reputation Maxx, which helps businesses of all sizes manage their online reputations.

In most cases, individual offenders simply delete their accounts or posts and disappear underground hoping it will all blow over. Eventually it may, but between screen shots, reposts and media reports of incidents gone viral, nothing negative that appears online ever really dies.

In her Facebook rant, Lindgren used the n-word twice, opined about slavery and welfare and expressed her support for black people going back to Africa.

Less than 24 hours later, and after many comments had been directed to her employer, Bank of America fired her.

Lindgren reportedly deleted her account, which appears to have been re-activated on June 6, without the offensive post (or any posts from 2016) and with only three friends.

She is just the latest Georgian to lose a job after a social media mistake. In January, a Georgia education official was fired after posting about race, religion and partisan politics.

IMG_5810And who can forget Gerod Roth, the Atlanta man who was fired from Polaris Marketing Group after posting a selfie of himself and a black co-worker’s toddler son?

Roth, who is white, may have avoided an issue had he not offered comments about his own photo. In response to friends, he wrote that the child was a deaf-mute who could not communicate and was in and out of a shelter after having been abandoned in the Atlanta projects.

The child’s mother, who had considered Roth a friend, was not amused by her co-worker’s fictional characterization.

“Unfortunately on social media, things get spun a lot of different ways,” said Halicki. “Sometimes the comments are more negative than the initial post.”

In either case, Halicki suggests individuals take a cut and run approach.

“They can apologize, but it doesn’t do anything at that point other than add more fuel to the fire. People will continue to attack from behind the keyboard,” he said.

Deleting the account and slowly trying to show people you are not an evil person is the best option, he said, but it takes time.

“Trying to make yourself look good on social media is harder (for an individual) than the damage they did initially to make themselves look bad,” he said.

But Sean Standberry, co-founder of Atlanta-based Lyfe Marketing said individuals can take a page from businesses by following three keys to recovery: sincerity, transparency and consistency.

“I think the best thing to do is confront the problem at hand,” he said. “Say, ‘I went on Twitter, I said this bad thing and I’m going to face the consequences of it.'”

Then you have to hope your friends, followers and possibly your employer, will see you as a whole person and forgive what is hopefully one stupid moment instead of a major character flaw.

You may continue to be attacked by maintaining an online presence, but once you’ve come clean, it’s best to ignore any subsequent comments, Standberry said.

“It takes time,” he said, “but more than anything you want to show you are moving forward and going on with your life and showing who you really are.”

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
Nolan Young
Nolan Young

Have the Complexion for the Protection

Omar K. Ali
Omar K. Ali

If you're not willing to say it, on a public street corner, holding your grandmother's hand, maybe you should keep it to yourself?

Sharon Wright Mitchell
Sharon Wright Mitchell

True. So many people fell like it's a venue to display their worst selves. I try to be positive, and at least give people a laugh or two.

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

This is wrong on all levels. Someone should not loose their job over something that does not affect your job performance. Nor should ones opinion cause them to loose their job. This world is too politically charged and whimpy. It's pathetic

Austin Breland
Austin Breland

You are a representative of your company both on and off the clock. No company wants to be known as the company that hires racist. (Just using racist as an example)

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

Austin Breland sorry my friend but you are wrong. Unless you are in the military then your not a representative during off time. Plus unless you are dumb enough to put where you work at on your Facebook profile then no one will know where you work at. It is ridiculous how woosified and soft and politically correct you have to be in this world now. That's why I love Trump because he is not politically correct all the time and people don't like him because of that. I just feel like unless someone breaks a law then it should be okay and open game. It's stupid that someone cannot voice their opinion without suffering repercussions. This ladies Facebook rant did not effect her job performance in the least bit. It's wrong on all levels

Liz Bracey
Liz Bracey

She can't be expected to treat fellow employees and customers equally if she feels this way.

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

Liz Bracey really??? Their are a lot of types of people that I do not like but when it comes to work or certain situations I will still treat them with respect. My feelings do not effect how I treat someone in person. Besides that I guess you would be shocked beyond reality if you knew people's real feelings and thoughts about certain subjects or certain kind of people. Sometimes people say stuff that they don't mean or say things without thinking before speaking or before thinking about consiquences. Now let me make this clear, threating someone or saying your going to commit bodily harm is and should be dealt with and then becomes more serious than words

Roni Williams
Roni Williams

BofA did the right thing. It's right on all levels.

Liz Bracey
Liz Bracey

Meh, get over it. Almost all employers today have social media clauses. It's common knowledge and I'm sure she was aware of it.

Austin Breland
Austin Breland

I'm wrong? So let's assume you have kids. Are you doing business at my company where I hire known pedophiles. No! And businesses know that! If your actions effect the company bottom line then you can be fired for it.

Doug Taylor
Doug Taylor

Sorry Jack, but Austin is right. Most companies lay this out clearly in their policies. Heck, my company makes us take courses annually that cover their policies against harassment, discrimination, etc... They clearly state that the company can hold you responsible for your actions even when you are off the clock. Think about it. She posted this in a very public way. She possibly even had her employer listed on her Facebook page, which instantly tied her to their public image. Even if she did not, co-workers, business partners, and customers who knew where she worked could have seen it. Her comment could have led to a very real financial loss for the company had those partners, customers, etc... decided to take their business elsewhere because of it. The company did the right thing by acting quickly and clearly to let everyone know that they do not tolerate such behavior in there employees, even when off the clock.

Lindsey Gregory
Lindsey Gregory

GA is a right to hire state so people can lose their jobs over basically anything. Anywho this kind of thing makes BoA look bad. That and their recent lawsuit. I would have fired her racist behind too. Also most corporations have a code of conduct for just this sort of thing.

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

Their are a million racist people in the US. Whites, blacks, Mexicans, Chinese and that is undisputed. I still believe losing a job over a Facebook post is wrong. This is fact also, I have seen thousands of racist post made by black people and I believe it would be wrong to fire them also.

Shel Ash
Shel Ash

If a teacher wrote "I hate kids. I wish they would all die already" as a Facebook status, would you want that teacher still teaching your kids? If you're willing to write a racist rant online, then you're asking for it. She might as well have yelled it in the middle of the work day with her middle fingers held high. Everyone knows that jobs research your social media accounts before you are hired and everyone knows that if you complain about work or make racist rants on your accounts that you could be fired. No employer wants to be known as defending a racist. Also... it's "lose" and "there". :P

David Apatía Hunt
David Apatía Hunt

Bank of America is in business to make money, anything that threatens their bottom line will be cut out.....if she's offending potential and current customers it's a no brainier she's getting fired, it's really not that complicated ...

Carie Moreau
Carie Moreau

And she did list BOA as her employment...duh

Olga Sinkfield
Olga Sinkfield

Anyone that's voting for DON T? You can't explain common sense to them. You all hear how crazy DON T flip flops with his talking not even understanding him own self! He talk like one of DON T's campaign supporters, when DON T have said something CRAZY on a nation wide networks, they try to dress up his nonsense of talking. Even when the news cast replay what he had SAID too them when they allll ready know what he said. DON T really making them look stupid tying to explain what DON T said, they STILL TRY to doctor up what DON T SAID. So of course this dude above JB, won't and don't get it. All the common sense and great explanation I read on here, he still don't get it? Just shows how slow he is! And he won't get it, which I pray never happen, until it slap him in the face personally and hits home! Maybe?! So now I'm waiting on the nonsense he about to say on what I just posted!

Lindsey Gregory
Lindsey Gregory

Just because some broads in your family are married to black guys doesn't mean you're not racist guy.

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

Olga Sinkfield what does Donald Trump have to do with this? If you want to change the topic to politics we can. I am a combat vet and believe me I am not racist. I have family members married to African American guys. However Obama is the most racist president we have ever had in our history. Beside that he is a socialist and would love to turn America into a police state. He is also very defiant and doesn't care about the American people. Now back to this topic, a Facebook post that is racist charged whether a black person or white person or Mexican person, unless it is threatening then I do not believe someone should lose their job over it. My logic, the post does not have any reflection on the persons job performance, UNLESS the person blantenly is racist at work.

JP Prince
JP Prince

If they are dumb enough to put something like that up then they should be fired

Austin Breland
Austin Breland

Jack Beavers, I'm not calling you a racist but lets look at your last comment. " I have family members married to African American guys." How in the world does that make you not a racist? that doesn't have anything to do with you! And how could you be a vet and support a draft dodger?!?

David Apatía Hunt
David Apatía Hunt

Speaking of changing topics, what does being a vet have to do with any of this?

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

Austin Breland Obama was also a draft dodger, cut our military to the smallest size in history and vetoed Congresses bill to give the military a five percent pay raise on two occasions and he doesn't even give our military the respect to salute when he is suppose too. Anyone that would vote for criminal murdering lying unethical crazy Hillary is a true dumbass

Austin Breland
Austin Breland

He dodged the draft at the age of 8?!? That is crazy! I learn something new everyday!

Jack Beavers
Jack Beavers

Is what I meant is he also avoided going into the military. He is the most disrespectful commander in chief in the history of this world. He is the worse most racist American hating socialist police world loving Ahole president our history as ever voted into the WH

Lindsey Gregory
Lindsey Gregory

Oh jackie boy. Nuanced in hyberbole and not much else

David Apatía Hunt
David Apatía Hunt

Bet you don't gripe about Bush saluting with his dog in his arms..... What a joke