Bad Mouthing the Talent

@AltSnacks sent a question over Twitter about Twitter:

Is it bad etiquette even in the twitter age for any below the line people to publicly roast Roseanne (or any talent) for basically costing them money? Would a PA get looked down upon for that?

Don’t do it. It’s that simple. Don’t bad mouth anyone in public fora.

Not Everyone is Roseanne

Right now, Roseanne is a big, easy target.1 She’s not terribly popular in the industry, for a number of obvious reasons that I won’t go into here.

But that’s a pretty rare thing. No one gets very far in this business without making at least a few friends. If you were to call, say, Howie Mandel an asshole,2 you’d probably find a lot of people coming to his defense. And those people will likely not hire you in the future.

“But TAPA,” you may say, “There’s a world of difference between an antisemetic lunatic and the guy who voiced Gizmo from Gremlins.”

Both so cute and cuddly!
Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

Yes, that’s true. But there are always borderline cases. You may think some celebrity is obviously a prick, but others may have had different experiences. You don’t want to wind up in a Rambo III situation.

Furthermore, even if you’re right, you’ve still talked yourself out of a job. Why would they hire a PA who has issues with one of the stars?

Negative Nelly

Let’s set all that aside, and take a really straightforward example. For instance, say you were a PA on Triumph of the Will, and you’re thinking about sending a telegram: HITLER A JERK STOP

They're all out of Hitler.
The jerk store called…

I’m not going to argue with you, other than to say that “jerk” is understating the case quite a bit.

The problem is, you’ve still harmed your chances of getting hired. Not because you called history’s greatest monster a name. It’s because your potential employer has no way of knowing if you’ll limit yourself to calling out genocidal maniacs.

Some people just like to complain. They may be right about Hitler or Roseanne,3 but who knows what else they’ll publicly complain about? They might leak set photos to the press, or spread rumors about a director’s “bad behavior” that amounts to little more than a perfectionist demanding the best from her crew.

Remember, these days, it isn’t just office gossip anymore. When you send something out on Twitter, it’s there for the whole world to see. No one wants to be the target of your next “public roasting,” whether they deserve it or not. If your once or future boss catches you saying something negative on Twitter, they may think twice about hiring you.

So, even if you’re okay with burning a bridge to any future Roseanne comedy specials, I’d still advise against joining the dog pile on twitter. She may deserve the scorn, but you deserve a job.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. See what I did there?
  2. He’s not, by the way, which is why he’s my example.
  3. Not really in the same category, but you know what I mean.
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3 Responses

  1. As an AD, I don’t want to see any PAs posting even benign stuff from behind the scenes of their own sets. Unless the producers are very clear that they want the social media help, do not do it*. No photos, or “insider scoops”. Sure, brag about it at a party, but do you really want to turn into a journalistic source? That would be awkward for you as you face your employer. We sign NDAs for a reason. If an NDA specifically is not presented, please give that job the professional respect of treating it like you did.

    I will concede that if you did happen to take a photo with a actor because they insisted first (it happens!) wait to post it until the project has aired and the risk of spoilers has gone away.

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