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LUNA post: Celebrity Twitter endorsements – and gaffes

Kim Kardashian promotes a lot of things via Twitter (mainly to do with herself) – her store Dash, clothes she’s wearing, fashion collaborations of boyfriend Kanye West and even an iPhone app featuring ‘cute aliens.

But the reality star has recently found there’s a difference between promoting QuickTrim clad in nothing but a purple bikini, and endorsing a particular side in a complex political situation.

Kim has received significant backlash, even escalating to death threats, after weighing on the current Israel and Palestine conflict via Twitter. She originally retweeted this message from a fan stating that she was  “Praying for everyone in Israel.”

But after followers became incensed, she added: “Praying for everyone in Palestine and across the world.” 

That still didn’t quite soothe followers, so she finally released this statement on her blog:

“I want to own up to and explain that earlier today I sent out two tweets about saying prayers for the people in Palestine and Israel and after hearing from my followers, I decided to take down the tweets because I realised that some people were offended and hurt by what I said, and for that I apologise.”

It’s not the first time Kim has made a Twitter gaffe – she’s previously been reprimanded for expressing a disgust for Indian cuisine, breastfeeding women, and posting a photograph of her holding a cat by the scruff of its neck, rubbing PETA supporters the wrong way to say the least.

But here the backlash here seems a little extreme. Yes, her comments weren’t completely correct, it seems they are really just a result of a lack of knowledge on the issue, and some misguided charity, rather than a concious effort to take a side.

KK’s ignorant tweets even prompted radio show hosts Meshel, Tim and Marty on Nova to ask fans to confess what world events they really don’t understand.

And KK is not the only Hollywood heavyweight to find herself in the proverbial hot water.

Outspoken comedian and The View host Whoopi Goldberg has too copped flack after posting an RT from fan Mahmoud Taji, which read:

This was met with outrage from a huge number of followers, some calling Goldberg herself a ‘terrorist’, and even leading to an argument about the validity of the Bible.

So should celebs just learn to shut up?

There is an almost infinite list of  blatantly stupid things Hollywood residents have said on Twitter – from John Mayer calling his penis a “white supremacist”, to rapper (formerly Lil’) Bow Wowboasting about drink driving, and basically anything Kanye West has ever tweeted (“Man…ninjas are kind of cool…I just don’t know any personally” was a 2011)

But when it comes to the more serious political and social issues affecting society, should they just keep their noses clean and their fingers away from the keyboard, in the interests of their careers?

Although Kim has since retracted her statements, Whoopi has refused to back down from her beliefs.

A huge number of celebrities also use the platform to communicate their values, with mixed results.

Musician Lily Allen once implied her 26th birthday was far more important than the death ofOsama Bin LadenRussell Crowe has been extremely vocal with his views of circumcision (most hastily deleted); and in 2011 Kenneth Cole put a foot out of line when using the chaos in Cairo to promote his new spring collection.

Like the Kardashian Klan, many tweet to promote their own products, or are paid a exorbitant amount to put in a good word for certain companies.

It has been estimated that some A-listers have been paid $US10 000 for the 140 character promos – which equates to $71 per letter.

The trendsetting power of the network is undeniable, but the ethics are getting a little hazy amid all the hashtags and smiley faces.

However, it is naive of us to expect that celebrities are above having a preference for a certain takeaway chain or clothing designer – and like us mere mortals, they have views that they want to share too.

There are still some famous Tweeters who use their 140 characters for good, weighing in on slightly more pressing issues than their delicious brunch or new weight loss scheme.

Many took to the social network to express their support for either Mitt Romney (affectionately nicknamed “Mittens”) or Obama in the recent US election – everyone from Donald Trump to Judd Apatow had  their 140 character say.

Sarah Silverman, famous for her sharp tongue, said:

Kim Kardashian has since expressed an interest in becoming more educated about the conflict, so maybe her solution is just to open up a newspaper before she opens up her phone – something we all could learn from.

The morals behind celeb Twitter endorsement  are still being defined – but the main rule of thumb(s) here may be to simply to think before you tweet.

Published at LUNA Digital.

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