Something is going on with People magazine's Twitter tonight and it's not pretty.
First during Scandal, one of our readers tipped us off to a tweet sent that referenced Kerry Washington's hair on the show:
Olivia's back to straight hair so you KNOW she means business. #Scandal
— People magazine (@peoplemag) September 26, 2014
Because you can't mean serious business with natural hair? They deleted it quickly, but the Internet is like Eye of Sauron. It sees everything.
So they realized they had tweeted something that many of their followers and fans told them was offensive. Normally you expect a carefully worded apology from a public relations executive doing damage control. (They usually start with "we deeply regret" and contain bullshit like "if we offended anyone, we are sorry.") But that's not what happened. They kept on live-tweeting the show and moved right into live-tweeting How To Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis.
Then we got this gem.
For those who don't know, the quote references Davis' Oscar-nominated role as Aibileen Clark, a maid in The Help. The reaction on Twitter was immediate, as many followers expressed not their outrage—because I don't think it's fair to portray this as just blind outrage—but their disappointment that this what a media company chooses to highlight.
For those who want to brush this off as just some intern who'll probably get fired tomorrow, don't forget that People magazine was recently sued for racial discrimination by a former editor, according to the Huffington Post:
Tatsha Robertson, reportedly the only black senior editor the magazine ever had, alleges her former boss left her out of meetings, dismissed pitches for stories centered on black victims, and verbally dissed her as well, once telling her, "You need to talk like everyone else here. You're not at Essence anymore."
The suit also has pointed accusations about People's editorial policy. In legal papers the magazine is described as "a discriminatory organization run entirely by white people who intentionally focus the magazine on stories involving white people and white celebrities."
So far, People magazine has had no comments about the deleted tweets. We will update if they do.