WPLG Accused of Cyber Bullying by Star Wars Fans

By Kevin Eck 

WPLG, the ABC affiliate in Miami, has issued an apology to local Star Wars fans for offending them by posting a slideshow to the station website showing fans in costume along with with questionable captions.

“We apologize to those who we inadvertently offended with our Star Wars slideshow,”  David Boylan, vice president and general manager of WPLG told TVSpy.  “It was posted by an member of our staff who is an avid Star Wars fan.  He took the pictures and added what were intended to be humorous captions largely of people in creative Star Wars costumes at a convention he attended over the weekend in Orlando.   His goal was to create a lighthearted web feature.  After getting complaints yesterday, we removed the slideshow from our website.  Again, to those who were offended, we apologize.”

The dust up began when fans began posting irate reactions to the station’s Facebook page.  The fans, who have websites of their own and aren’t afraid to use them, also took to the internet by posting to their own blogs and Facebook pages to express their displeasure with the way WPLG was handling the situation.

Initially, WPLG removed the offending page from its site and posted an apology on Facebook.  However, the apology was seen as insincere.  It read, “GOOD NEWS(or BAD NEWS…depending on where you sided).  The infamous Star Wars slideshow has been taken down.  For those offended(and let us know), sorry.  For those who enjoyed it(and let us know), sorry. Remember…the force will be with you…always.”

Enterprising fans then created a Facebook group called,  “WPLG Local 10 Owes Star Wars Fans a Formal Apology”.  On it they wrote:

“For those who do not know what is going on – this station, or should I say someone who is employed by this station posted 45 pictures from the Star Wars convention that was held in Orlando this past weekend…It is not just about Star Wars, this type of treatment could be directed at fans of any Scifi or fantasy genre. Our passion is no different than that of sports fans that dress up for game day.

>Update: The website producer who posted the slideshow in question has posted an apology to the WPLG site.  In it, he posts an explanation of what happened and sums it up with this:

It turned out to be a really bad idea, and for that I apologize.