The Weather Channel's social media team got itself into hot water yesterday after telling a gay city councilman from Fort Worth, Texas "good luck on ending bullying" after he deleted their mobile app.
Councilman Joel Burns became an internet sensation a few years ago after giving an emotional speech as a part of the "It Gets Better" campaign, which is aimed at trying to prevent LGBT youth from committing suicide.
Burns is active in trying to stop bullying among children, which is responsible for a growing number of youth suicides in the United States.
The incident started on Monday when Burns tweeted The Weather Channel to chastise them for showing pictures of Dallas on their mobile app when one's location is set to Fort Worth.
— Councilm. Joel Burns (@JoelBurns) May 12, 2014
After not getting a response from TWC, he sent them another tweet, which prompted the sarcastic response from the Atlanta-based weather network's social media team.
@JoelBurns Sorry to see you go. Good luck on ending bullying.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) May 12, 2014
Burns quickly turned the controversy into a positive rallying cry for Fort Worth, starting a #THISisForthWorth hashtag and encouraging people to post pictures of Fort Worth to show that it is a different city from Dallas, even though the two are often lumped together.
The Weather Channel has since apologized to Councilman Burns and is working to make amends, according to a post on his Facebook page.
An update from this very strange day: I just spoke the Weather Channel's communications exec Shirley Powell in Atlanta. She assures me: They are working to update their app. They love the #THISisFortWorth photos and might even use some (depending on rights, legalities, etc.) so keep them coming. They are making a contribution to The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and The Trevor Project. She couldn't confirm how much, but that they would. They were appreciative of the invite to come do a weathercast from Sundance Square, and while they didn't exactly decline, they were unable to commit to any visit. She said I made her cry in 2010. In general, good news for Fort Worth. Keep adding your #THISisFortWorth pics and twitter and check out the collection at http://ift.tt/RIqVkb.
This isn't the first time The Weather Channel's social media team put its foot in its mouth on Twitter.
— ryanvaughan (@ryanvaughan) January 29, 2014
Back in January when The Weather Channel was embroiled in a carriage dispute with satellite television carrier DirecTV, someone on the network's social media staff tweeted out that the company's replacement on DirecTV and main competitor, WeatherNation, is where "meteorologists go to die." The person responsible for this particular tweet was fired.
[Screenshot via Twitter]