Russian Ambassadors tweets picture of laughing terrorist…from Harold & Kumar!?!?!?

In today’s blog entry, you will see why it is so, so important that you have a full grasp on context when using the Internet.

The Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom is Alexander Yakovenko.  On October 21st, he sent out this tweet:

Yeah, that picture?  Not a terrorist.  It’s actually actor Kal Penn in the stoner movie Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.  I bet Penn never thought that picture would be used in foreign policy!

Penn noticed the tweet, and responded as such:

Here’s where Yakovenko should probably have shut up for his own good.  He did, but then the official Russian Embassy account tweeted:

And Penn got in the last word:

Also worth noting: Penn took a break from acting to work at the White House, where he was an Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.  Yes, that’s right, the bearded “terrorist” that the Russian Ambassador tweeted was a former employee of the United States government.

I’m reminded by this quote from Bob Ueker in Major League

This disaster shows a couple of things.  First, this is why it’s important to be at least vaguely plugged into pop culture.  I’ve never seen that movie, but I probably could have recognized that the picture is way, way too staged looking – and thus, was probably from a movie or television show.  Odds are that you would have seen the same thing!

Second, always know the source of any image that you cite.  This disaster would have been prevented if the Ambassador had simply taken the extra moment to look at the source of his image.  Make sure that you always do the same so that you don’t accidentally use an image or link which is not what you thought it was!

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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