Social Media Postings Were “Simply Unkind”

June 9, 2015

[Opinion column written by Shari-Lynn Pringle]

If there’s anything that the recent Bermuda social media debacle highlighted is that some people have too much time on their hands and not enough love in their hearts. During a month that I’ve tried to lay low on social media, it is extremely difficult to watch what is in play and not say something.

Don Burgess created a monster with his monthly social media rankings for excessive number of Twitter followers and another for the power of engagement aka Klout. So at times it is difficult to view some things that happen as genuinely breaking news or someone’s attempt to break loose from the pack on the Bermuda Klout scale.

I’ve held the #4 Klout spot since July 2014 and for me it is effortless because I genuinely enjoy social media and it takes very little effort for me to mix and mingle, engage as it’s called, with people who I have been consistently sharing with for many years.

The one thing that I’m most proud of is that my posts almost always come from a place of kindness. Young Eron Hill has used the words “Spurious, Highly Defamatory”. I simply would say “unkind”. Both of the recent pictures are simply unkind.

The Bras for Causes was an excellent, very quickly constructed, successful campaign bringing attention to legislation that would affect the frequency of mammograms. I don’t think there’s many a person in Bermuda that could not claim to have someone in their family or circle of friends who is not a survivor, a fighter or a victim of some form of cancer.

Slideshow of the ‘Bras For Cause’ protest


I’m not exempt and have been having annual mammograms since age 30. Ironically, yesterday [June 8] was annual mammogram #21. With bras strewn on the ground, in trees, around trees, around poles, over fences, etc. someone decided to take a picture of the Premier and Senator Baron and make an issue of them appearing to walk on perhaps 2 – 3 of the the bras as they made their way across the grass. People were asking why they couldn’t just walk on the pavement. My immediate thought was maybe someone should have thought to put up “Do not walk on grass” signs.

If those bras were left overnight, out in the dampness, for bugs to land on and crawl over, for birds to crap on – so what if someone walked on a strap or padded cup? All sorts of kind things could have been said with this picture as a caption i.e. how the Premier made time to give some attention to the matter, how the Premier and Senator Baron got up close and personal with the bras, how breast cancer has affected them but instead the post was made with unkind intentions and thus with like-minded people it was like dropping a match in gasoline.

The Facebook post was made and the likes and comments poured in, political lines were drawn. Anyone who disagreed with what we were told the picture depicted was summarily dismissed or branded an OBA supporter. I simply would have preferred conclusive video.

And perhaps this is why the next picture was destined to create a similar social media stir. Standing alone – with 3 gents wearing bras that they either brought to the grounds with them or picked up off the ground and donned them [which was it because… ] – it was a fun photo and nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to showing support for breast cancer survivors, fighters and victims.

Bras For A Cause Bermuda, June 4 2015-1 (1)

The picture took a turn for ugly when someone with an unkind heart added the text “Catherine Jenner”. The Bras for Causes issue in Bermuda had nothing to do with Caitlyn Jenner or the transgender community.

And implying that the 3 gents were representative of that community or mocking transgender people would mean that someone didn’t have an awareness of what was going on – or they did and thought they’d take an opportunity to be humorous at the expense of someone else. Simply unkind. And in this case unkind and cowardly as they sit back and watch what is going on as a result of their handiwork.

The One Bermuda Alliance, upon receiving this modified photo should have immediately paused and asked 1] who added the incorrect text and by virtue of it being incorrect, why pay it any attention and 2] in light of the good intentions of Bras for Causes in Bermuda is it in our best interest to add more gasoline and light another match. We know what happened.

Making fun of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender people [note I said transgender NOT transgendered] happens all the time on Facebook and Twitter and some of the biggest perpetrators in Bermuda do it because they just want attention. They’ll quickly give the customary statement “well I have friends that are _____” and all is supposed to be forgiven.

Maybe if we just stopped doing things from a position of unkindness, we wouldn’t have to speak about family/friends that you only mention when trying to justify something you shouldn’t have done in the first place. If you are going to post something unkind ask yourself, is that someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son, cousin…. you get the idea … and remove your finger from the post button. However, if that’s the only way you feel you can get the attention you need, carry on.

So what is needed to fix this mess? The offending tweets and posts should be removed. By way of an apology the One Bermuda Alliance should make an attractive donation to a local charity that supports breast cancer research, survivors and fighters.

If the PLP is so inclined, they should match that donation because they are, in my opinion, complicit in this. But if this issue isn’t political – and is purely personal – perhaps a personal donation from all those inclined to be unkind and detract from the issue.Much more money is needed to fight this horrible disease and laying bras out on the ground might halt unpopular legislation but the fight for a cure continues.

- Shari-Lynn Pringle is a member of Two Words and a Comma which successfully lobbied Government to add sexual orientation as a protected ground under the Human Rights Act of 1981. She is an LGBTQ and Human Rights Advocate and social media aficionado.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Spectator says:

    A lovely and kind opinion that puts most of the social media posts to shame. Well done and thanks for sharing.

  2. J Starling says:

    I enjoyed this article Shari-Lynn – you raise some good points.

    • stupidity says:

      Sorry, you give the OBA a pass when they are the ones responsible for this mess. from start to finish! PLP let the oba apologize and donate.

      • stupidity says:

        All should hold hands and sing kumbaya? where was this lady when all bloggers and nasty oba supporters talk about the plp members like they are scum of the earth?

        She’s has not presented the happening of the last week. she really lost me when he wants to change the emotions behind young Eron’s words. How dare her?

        Just to give the party she voted for and support a get out of jail free card? No can do.

        • Mockingjay says:

          Unkind, that’s an understatement.
          They are Pathetic and an Embarrassment.
          Now we have Bra Gate, every month they show their real colors.

          • Ed Case says:

            Mockyou: Not Bra Gate. It should be Bra Clasp.

            As far as showing true colours – Beanie is the king there.

        • Varied says:

          Predictably, the people who’d rather engage in tit-for-tat and “they did it worse” drama have come on board. And so the cycle will continue.

      • Casual Observer says:

        Until the PLP apologizes for Jahmal Simmons’ disgusting tweets, Makai Dickerson’s sexist 2012 election cartoons and Eron Hill’s OBA KKK social media post, the OBA should not even bat an eye at your contrived controversy.

        • flikel says:

          Did these gentlemen post their remarks on an official PLP social media site?

          The simple answer is no…there is a big difference.

          Is Hill an official of the PLP, was Simmons at the time? No.

          There is a big difference here.

          • Casual Observer says:

            Actually Simmons was the official PLP spokesperson at the time.

            After his nasty tweets he resigned that position NAND became Dr. Brown’s so called spokesperson.

            Then a few months later the PLP felt that while he was unworthy of being their official spokesperson he was suitable enough to run for parliament.

            But yes I know. When the PLP do it it is different and noble. How silly of me.

          • Casual Observer says:

            Oh and Dickerson was a PLP candidate when he issued the sexist cartoons that I noted in 2012.

            Tell me again the difference please?

          • aceboy says:

            Why is there a big difference? The result is the same.

        • Awake says:

          Well said! It’ll be a cold day in hell before Jamahl Simmons apologizes for the words he tweeted.

      • Northshore says:

        You are your name !

      • Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

        @stupidity I gave neither party a pass. Further I tweeted to the OBA immediately when it was brought to my attention:

        “Shari-Lynn ‏@shaeyd Jun 6
        .@1bermudalliance @BermudaPremier WHO within the OBA approved this tweet which is SO WRONG on several levels!! #BeyondDisappointed”

        • Mockingjay says:

          You defended U.B.P/oba with a watered down comment and this is their M O.
          What a shame.

          • Ed Case says:

            They are no worse than the PLP who never apologise for anything. PLP set the stage for lack of apologies so this is what you get. Tough.

  3. PBanks says:

    Very good piece. Too often we’re lacking of any kindness or understanding, and just come out angry or malicious.

    Anything and everything on this island becomes part of this zero-sum-game of political one-upmanship, which is sad to say the least.

  4. watching says:

    How was the PLP complicit? The tweet from the PLP represented what the pictured seemed to represent. The tweet from the OBA was totally off colour and offensive in many ways.
    I am tired of people feeling guilty for criticizing the OBA and therefore having to throw some blame onto the PLP. The two are not always linked. This tweet from the OBA was a huge error and one that they need to own. And I also believe that the Leader of the OBA needs to take responsibility as I would think it had to be approved by him.

    • Mutual Repect says:

      How was the PLP complicit? bwaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaa

      • Betty says:

        Well said @ Watching, you hit the nail on the hammer. Sounds like a mere defend of the OBA…..

    • PBanks says:

      Because they were part of the twitter sparring session in the first place?

    • Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

      I agree with you @watching however having witnessed too many memes I care to remember during pre-Election in a particular group, I’m sticking with my first opinion on who created it and not the person being used as a scapegoat. I’m an equal opportunity criticizer and I believe I have done so within my opinion because it is warranted.

    • Awake says:

      Where’s the proof the tweet originated from the OBA? If you have it, please post it!

      • cherri says:

        I saw it with my own eyes. But feel free to go to their official twitter account and see it for yourself.

      • mixitup says:

        What does it matter where it originated? IT WAS RETWEETED ON THEIR (OBA)OFFICIAL PAGE! Oh rite, the PLP hacked their page..

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      you know what i’m tired of..? i’m tired of people getting offended…ya’ll better harden the f#@k up!, i know dat!. What ever happened to our Freedom of Speech..? What happened to our Freedom to form our own opinion..? or do we all have to conform..? likened to a dozen eggs or checker board squares..? Humans are born as Individuals, this is where your Equality thingy comes into play, but that’s a whole other chapter… What ever you’re hearing or reading, and it offends you, then don’t listen or don’t look, Simple.

      ps. life’s hard…wear a helmet.

  5. Ed Case says:

    Too many people are just looking to be insulted so they can complain.

    Three men mock a women’s event by posing in underwear for a joke photo. Why are these men not being taken to task? Probably because what they did was intended as a joke right? Well perhaps what somebody else did was a joke.

    Grow up people and get over it. Eron – grow some skin. You’ll need it to be thick if you want to stay in politics.

  6. Pastor Syl Hayward says:

    Thank you Shari Lynn! I too, have been trying to keep my toe out of the shark-infested waters of Bermuda politics. The high-flown, over-the-top hyperbole designed to inflame seems to be the order of the day, and it just wears me out.

    By the same token,it has been my observation over the past few years that far too many folks seem to take a certain kind of sick delight in the sharp put-down,the snarky comment, the cute but cutting smart remark, or judgmental and hurtful label. I am minded of the adage “hurt people hurt people.” Perhaps folks don’t realize how much of their own pain they reveal by the way in which they react to life and to others.

  7. Toodle-oo says:

    People need to get a life and wean themselves off of this social media cr@p. Start doing things the old fashioned way again and speak to people face to face in a coherent manner .
    And that goes for all politicians as well . I’d rather see you on my doorstep with an open and receptive pair of ears as opposed to wasting time on social media , of which I am no part of.

    And no , I don’t consider the occasional (and intelligent) participation in a news site comment board the same thing as what this is all about. Tweeting , blasting , and all the other nonsense that people take too seriously. There’s still a large part of the population who are no part of this stuff whatsoever .

  8. Awake says:

    Good article Ms. Pringle. While you’re busy writing, could you please enlighten everyone as to who, from the OBA, created and tweeted the offending picture? When the proof is shown, only then will I agree they should make that donation you speak of!

    • .am says:

      You’re way off base, buddy. No one in the OBA ‘created’ the image. It was sent to me by someone who was appalled by it. I then shared it in a discussion group. I had no idea who the three people in the photo were, but they appeared to be making light of the situation and the caption only served to further offend. How it then made its way to the OBA twitter account, I have no idea. All I said was ‘Which party do you think they would vote for?’

      What’s amusing is that whichever way you look at it, the answer is the same. It *is* members of the PLP depicted (so we can probably assume they’d vote for the PLP), but if they weren’t and the bra stunt and caption were designed to offend.. it would still be the PLP.

  9. Rhonda says:

    It seems whenever the oba is caught doing the unspeakable, the rationale from most oba supporters is to pivot to something the plp may or may not have done as justification. Is our politics at the stage of a race to the bottom, plp wrongs erases oba wrongs. So neither are held accountable.

    • Tolerate says:

      lol, Rhonda is that you???? Sorry I have read FAR TOO MANY of your blogs defending bad behavior; now you want accountability? Here’s a hint, STOP enabling.
      There have been FAR TOO MANY nasty comments made from our politicians, followed up by their supports justifying the comments?
      Be-careful the monsters you help create….. Shari; spot on with your views of this issue, not only politicians but their party faithful.
      Already with your non-biased break down on the issue; you’re having to defend your views from certain party followers who CANNOT accept any wrong their party has done.
      Already you’ve got flikel in defensive mode, only to quickly receive a memory check by Casual Observer.


      • Betty says:

        As MP Leah Scott, “Stop Playing the Blame Game”…..really this seems to do just that, rather than request the Premier and the OBA be held accountable.

  10. Jess Figueiredo says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is so nice to see you eloquently say what probably a lot of us are thinking. What was meant to be an amazing cause and bring Bermudians together ended up being tainted by this whole debacle. Sad.

  11. 32n64w says:

    Well said Ms. Pringle.

  12. Alvin Williams says:

    Of course it was political after all before the minister could bring out her controversial bill she had to get the support of her government cabinet which made no statement on the over all position of the OBA even in the face of the gathering protest and ironically was only force to make some type of statement when it appeared the premier and his political aid was seen tip toeing through the bras which had been laid in protest over the health minister’s proposed amendment. OBA operates have been attempting to drag the PLP into their miss-step and political miscalculation; but a picture is greater than a thousand word; this was not PLP set up and almost lost in this was the fact that it was PLP shadow Health Minister Kim Wilson that brought the whole issue to the fore.

  13. Ruthless says:

    I guess when Mark Bean apologizes to all females we can move on?!

    • Varied says:

      So, people will only apologize if someone else apologizes first? Really heartfelt, that. Why can’t someone be the bigger person and take responsibility for their missteps, whichever party they support (or loathe, or whatever)?

  14. Xaxa says:

    Ms. Pringle, I’d sign up for twitter if there were more people like you on it. Very-well spoken.

  15. Jess says:

    Ms. Pringle for Premier!

  16. defisherman says:

    I just wish all you lot were out there protesting 6 years ago when the PLP was carrying on with their 14yr party! None of you gave a rats backside back then, but now because the “white government” is in you think your owed something. African Diasphora Trails were important back then, healthcare not so much, but no one was protesting that BS waste of $. Hypocrites and Parasites are what you are!

    • PBanks says:

      Well, that was the most misguided and uninformed rant. You don’t know what people were protesting about 6 years ago. The article had zero to do with race.

      It was about trying to come from a place of kindness when addressing issues, and ironically you have demonstrated pretty much the reverse.

  17. mmm says:

    Politicians are needed to run the country, for the Health Minister, a woman herself, to ignore a certain age bracket is cruel and heart-less, when it comes to screenings for breast cancer. If you want to save dollars, think about all the government offices that are currently renting, when in realit y they can be using some empty classrooms, thus saving well over a million dollars. Yes, the Health Minister pulled back the intended legislation, but why so so late. And those 3 guys should have shown their support in a bette r way, i.e. tag day, Family Learning Center etc.