Should You "Get Approval" For Tweets During A Crisis?

By now, you may have heard about the controversial tweets Cee Lo Green—the Grammy Award-winning singer and former host of NBC’s The Voice—sent after pleading no contest late last month to a disturbing charge leveled against him.

According to MTV, Green “entered a plea of no contest for the felony count of furnishing a controlled substance of MDMA/ecstasy to a woman without her awareness during a dinner in 2012.” MTV’s report continues:

According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Green slipped the drug to a 33-year-old woman while the two were at a restaurant…the woman, who hasn’t been named, alleged that she woke up to find herself naked in bed with Green in her hotel room.”

Cee Lo Green

Green would have had enough of a challenge restoring his reputation after pleading no contest to drugging a woman and being accused of rape. 

But the tweets he sent last week—particularly the one below that Green quickly deleted but other Twitter users shared—turned a tough crisis management issue into a career-threatening one:

Cee Lo Raped Remember

 

In this tweet captured by BuzzFeed, Green reinforced that view, appearing to suggest that a woman who is drugged cannot, by definition, be raped.

Cee Lo Green Rape Tweets

 

Green later apologized, but in a manner that tried to distance himself from his words (the comments weren’t “attributed” to him—he made them).

Cee Lo Apology

Green has paid a heavy price since this controversy erupted. His reality show on TBS, The Good Life, was canceled. He was also removed from the lineup at a Louisiana music festival and from another concert sponsored by the U.S. Navy.

All of that gets me back to the headline of this post, which asks this question: Should you “get approval” before tweeting or posting to social media when you’re immersed in a crisis?

By approval, I don’t mean that you have to obtain approval from some central authority, but rather that you form a voluntary agreement between yourself and someone else—a manager, an agent, a spouse, a trusted business partner—that you won’t post anything on social media until you receive and consider their feedback.

Had Green done that, any manager, agent, or partner should have had the sense to tell him to sign off and walk away for a while. Instead, he tweeted in the heat of emotion, when his rational brain didn’t prevent him from compounding his original acts of terrible judgment.

My suggestion for those who find themselves in crisis mode? Don’t post anything to social media without seeking the opinion of a trusted ally first.

Cee Lo doesn’t have to listen to me. It’s just too bad he didn’t listen to his own lyrics from his hit song “Crazy”: “Think twice, that’s my only advice.”

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