Michael Buble is one of those celebrities who normally can’t seem to put a foot wrong. A voice to die for and an appearance to match, he’s demonstrated a gently cheeky sense of fun and crooner gent attitude over the years in which he has established himself as one of the most famous singers in the world. However, he recently proved to be a good example of how social media can cause problems for even the most well established reputations.
Buble has an Instagram account to which he regularly posts photos of himself and his very aesthetically pleasing family, as well as various tropical locations, music related images, him in a flash car and….well….kittens. So far very innocuous…until now. Unfortunately he recently also posted a photo of himself standing in front of an unidentified woman who has her back to him and is wearing a pair of shorts – a very short pair of shorts. The photo is captioned with the hashtags ‘#myhumps #babygotback #hungryshorts #onlyinmiami.’ The photo has essentially caused uproar and although Buble seemed to think it was a harmless joke, he has been accused of bodyshaming the woman by fans who weren’t impressed with his choice of image. Some of the responses to the photo included “that’s someone’s daughter dude,” “amusing but probably not to the woman featured” and “yep, let’s humiliate a stranger. Stay classy, Buble.”
Others have pointed out that Buble has no idea how old the woman is and she could be a minor. It has also raised questions of whether he got her permission before posting a picture of her behind to his 1+ million followers on Instagram and 2.22 million followers on Twitter. While Buble may or may not have crossed any legal lines, the issue really is one of ethics and reputation as he is now being branded a misogynist and being repeatedly attacked for criticising a woman who isn’t as body perfect as his own wife.
In the light of the social media storm that followed the photo being posted, Buble has very wisely released a statement (also via social media) in which he says that it hurts him deeply that anyone would think he would disrespect a woman and that he regrets that there are people that found the photo offensive. However, if you take a look at his Instagram page you’ll notice that he hasn’t taken it down. Perhaps as a result of leaving the photo up there the controversy continues to roll on and almost a week later there are still numerous articles appearing online chipping away at Buble’s previously perfect reputation exterior.
So what are the lessons to be learned from this unfortunately episode? Well, firstly that speed is essential when responding to a social media storm – and that you should never underestimate how fast something like this can grow. Secondly, that retractions and apologies work but not without removing whatever it was that originally caused such offence in the first place. And finally, don’t go around using your social media to post pictures of other people’s bottoms…
This blog first appeared on The Huffington Post.