Patriots Drop the Ball With Social Media Campaign that Turned Racist
The people who run the New England Patriots’ Twitter account apologized to the team’s fanbase Thursday night after they accidentally let an automated tweet slip through the cracks that included a racist slur.
The tweet, which included the Twitter handle @IHateN*****s, was part of a social media campaign that the Patriots were running in celebration of being the first football team to officially hit 1 million followers. Every time that someone shared a customized message created by the Patriots, giving thanks to fans for supporting them in their quest to surpass the rest of the league in terms of Twitter followers, the team would create a customized digital jersey for that person, placing their name on the back of the shirt:
Unfortunately, the Patriots didn’t take into account the fact that when social media campaigns such as this—as has been seen numerous times in the past—are put before the eyes of millions of people, Internet trolls begin to crawl from the cracks and crevices of the online world, looking to capitalize on an opportunity to publicly embarrass an organization or brand.
For the Patriots, this fumble came in the form of a retweet that included the racist Twitter handle. At around 9 p.m., the Patriots sent out a “Thank You” to a person using the name @IHateN*****s, catching the attention of those following the campaign. The tweet stayed up for more than an hour before it was deleted and an apology was sent out. The racially-charged incident then quickly brought the appreciation posts and customized digital jersey project to an end: