“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”
Easier said than done.
Recently, Paul Tilley, an advertising executive partially responsible for the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign, killed himself amidst a trouncing on several industry-specific blogs.
It’s impossible to say whether or not public humiliation played a role in Tilley’s suicide, but it certainly brings an important issue to the surface:
Should people be allowed to anonymously defame private citizens?
The question isn’t a new one, but as blogs continue to wield greater societal influence, constitutional amendments will continue to battle one another. In this case, Freedom of Speech vs. The Pursuit of Happiness.
Movie stars, athletes and politicians knowingly cast themselves into the public domain, and are compensated for taking the job. But think of yourself for a minute. How would you feel if your corner of the world suddenly had a bright spotlight drawing attention to every pockmark and scar?
As bloggers, many of us put ourselves out there more than we’d probably like. Call me out for faulty semi-colons or broken links, but keep my private life out of it!
In the case if the late Paul Tilley, employees were anonymously posting his internal e-mails to staff, and spewing very personal attacks against the ad exec.
I’m not suggesting we blame the blogs that allowed these posts, but I am questioning if a better sourcing policy needs to be implemented.
Read more at the New York Times.