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After director James Gunn’s decade-old tweets got him fired, how should HR handle previous inappropriate content on social media?

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In the last few weeks, old offensive tweets of public figures ranging from Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn to various MLB players have surfaced, creating backlash and sometimes consequences years after the user hit “send.”

In the case of Gunn, the cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy” has come to the defense of ousted director James Gunn. He’d tongue-in-cheek tweeted about pedophilia, rape, AIDS, and the 9/11 attacks. In the past week, three MLB players have had unearthed racist language in social media posts from a few years ago. They’ve profusely apologized and claimed the words don’t depict their current beliefs.

We’ll look at the reasons people post content that could damage their reputations years later.


Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of ‘iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood’ (Simon and Schuster, August 2017);

Carrie Cecil, social media educator and CEO of Social Media Sports Management (SM2), a company that consults with and educates professional and collegiate-level athletes and coaching staffs on brand reputation management and social media education