What better way to congratulate someone who just won $1 million than to reference slavery?
Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a tweet saying, “$1M GA Lottery winner Willie Lynch can get 40 acres and a whole lotta mules.” The historical reference is to a post-Civil War proposal to help freed slaves start new lives by giving them land previously held by whites. When such policies were overturned shortly after the war, the subject became a source of bitterness among African American southerners.
The decidedly un-funny tweet was quickly deleted, and this tweet appeared in its place:
The AJC apologizes for & deeply regrets the tweet that was posted earlier today. We are working to address this situation internally.
— AJC (@ajc) October 23, 2013
Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Kevin Riley has since released the following statement:
“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sincerely regrets an earlier Twitter message that contained an inappropriate statement. We took immediate action to apologize via social media and on our website and will issue an apology in Thursday morning’s print edition. We do not condone such offensive messages and are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again. Additionally, we are taking the appropriate disciplinary action with the individuals involved.”
Another day, another otherwise-respectable company doing an internal investigation to unearth and discipline employees who have no business touching a keyboard connected to the internet.