By Juliet Ebirim
Social media can be a fun and vocal platform to express jokes, ideas, and debates on topical issues. However, the freedom of expression on social media has gotten many people in trouble. Celebrities have had their past come back to haunt them, as people uncover controversial social media photos, posts, or tweets.
A typical international example is American actor, Kelvin Hart, who fell victim to this social media scavenger hunt. He was asked to host the Oscars, but his older tweets were quickly resurrected by social media users. These tweets were seen as homophobic and sparked debate on social media, causing him to step down as host.
A series of tweets were found, including this one from 2011: “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.” These tweets have since been deleted by the actor and comedian.
Celebrities’ private lives are not so private when many are quite vocal on social media. Having such great platforms come with great responsibility, which means these scandals can take over social media when they are found out by the public, because of the high status of the celebrity.
Speaking of a celebrity whose words came back to haunt him in recent times, Peruzzi comes to mind. The DMW signed act has found himself in the middle of a backlash after some of his old tweets, where he boasted about raping women and promoting rape were dug up by some users.
In tweets shared between 2010 to 2013, the “Majesty” singer jokingly threatened to rape women while responding to a tweet on the platform.
“I will rape her”, the singer wrote in one tweet. “person wey I don rape already”, and “rape am if she no gree”. added the songwriter in others.
He probably didn’t know the implications of what he was tweeting at the time, as he wrote in another tweet: “Rape fine na 5k dolls abi? Abi e don increase. Lol,” he wrote in March 2012.
The singer quickly deleted these old tweets, after a woman accused him last week of raping her in 2012.
Peruzzi however didn’t take long to come out to defend himself. In one of his latest tweet, the mega hitmaker wrote: “MY NAME IS OKOH TOBECHUKWU, I HAVE NEVER AND WILL NEVER BE A RAPIST”
Another celebrity whose social media posts have come back to haunt him is Nigerian comedian, Basketmouth. In November last year, the comedian faced backlash after he was unveiled alongside some other Nigerian celebrities as an advocate for the European Union in a campaign against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
The comedian was accused of being a rape apologist who has in the past, made jokes about rape and therefore not fit to represent women and the issues they face.
Back in 2014, the comedian made a joke where he said women who refuse to have sex after a couple of dates could be raped.
Following the furious backlash that came with this, he apologised for the joke which critics branded insensitive and callous.
“I would never in a thousand lifetimes encourage rape,” he said. “I broadcasted a joke that many clearly misunderstood and have found offensive and I sincerely apologise, the intention however was to highlight an unfortunate trend and the ridiculously flawed comparison between money and the worth of a woman.”
Despite the apology, the comedian was however removed from the list as it was greeted with massive criticism.
Also in a related development, fans of popular reality TV star, Tacha also stormed social media to demand the removal of actor and model, Uti Nwachukwu as an influencer for the SGBV campaign.
“Titans” as they are popularly known, claimed that Uti Nwachukwu was not fit to represent women in the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) campaign and therefore should be removed as an influencer due to his series of abusive and degrading tweets about Tacha, while she was in the BBNaija reality show.
They recalled his tweets from 2016 where he made unpleasant remarks about women and more recently the ones about Tacha.
See some of the tweets;
Some of the tweets against Uti reads;
“Internet never forgets… @EUinNigeria look into the present outcries to drop Uti as he is no longer tenable as ambassador for the campaign against the violence on women…”
“This is not only about Tacha. Uti has literally body shamed and verbal abused women he doesn’t like or doesn’t agree with him. If the EU decide to withdraw this appointment then it’s on him and he should take responsibility for that, period! – @Ihuomauz”
“You’re quite shallow if you think the call to drop Uti from the EU is solely based on Tacha! He is a troll and doesn’t fit that status ..these are tweets from 3 years ago! Fr yrs he’s taken part in cyber bullying and slut shaming! As a ‘public figure’ he should know better! – @Haduphe”