Admittedly, we are a couple of days late to this story, but we still find it moving enough to share. Last week, a writer for The Faster Times, Oliver Miller, wrote a much-read article called “AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out.” In it, he writes about the perils of the “AOL Way,” the grind of writing ten articles daily, keeping up a 25 minutes per article turn-around time on unfamiliar subjects, the stress and sleepless nights, and the general misery of being a content slave for a company that doesn’t care about what you write, as long as you mention Lady Gaga in almost every headline. Then he shares the story of how he got fired:
At this point, during the course of writing my ten daily articles, I made an ironic aside about a Hollywood star — implying that he was jealous that another star had won a major award. It was meant to be a joke. It was meant to be ironic — but of course, the Internet is the place where irony goes to die…
The Hollywood star was not amused. He wrote an article bitching about the stupidity of AOL, and about the stupidity of the AOL home page, and about the stupidity of me in particular. In fact, he said that I was an “eighth-degree black belt idiot.”
The star in question, the New York Observer first points out, is the highly popular (even Miller calls himself a fan) Alec Baldwin, potential mayoral candidate, who was a paid spokesperson of AOL. In the words of the Observer, Baldwin “then used his vanity blog at The Huffington Post to trash AOL for taking him too literally in an unrelated end note to a post about the documentary Waiting For Superman.” There, he does indeed refer to “eighth degree, black belt idiots that compose the AOL homepage” and goes on to say “I’m still a loyal AOL user. In spite of the fact that its homepage content is written by the dumbest bastards in the world.”
Sure, we may be biased to feel sympathy for the blogger over Baldwin, considering FishbowlNY is written by bloggers and not (as you might have thought) wealthy celebrities. Nonetheless, we’re having trouble supporting a big star like Baldwin for using his personal platform and star power to throw a tantrum over a blog post just because he felt wronged or misunderstood over a joke he made — something that happens to everyone on the internet, all the time. But we won’t say anymore about it. He might be reading.