Did Twitter just fire its new hire because of an old Facebook post?
Twitter’s having a rough month. First, word got around the Disney decided not to buy them because of their bad reputation. Then, they got called out by the media for changing the time on their Q3 earnings call. (Dodging the inevitable, much?) When they did finally speak up, the report included their intent to lay off 300 workers. Ouch.
On the upside, they don’t have to find the money to pay their new VR Program Manager, Greg Gopman, because they fired him shortly after they hired him. Why? Perhaps, because of a nasty, old Facebook post.
Greg Gopman is a serial entrepreneur and the former CEO of AngelHack. He proudly announced his hiring to the world on Facebook and shortly after, he announced his firing on Facebook, too. (Ironic) In his single sentence post, he blamed tech news website Techcrunch for his misfortune.
Shortly after the big Twitter announcement, a reporter at Techcrunch wondered out loud if Twitter knew about the nasty diatribe on the homeless population in San Francisco that Gopman had posted on Facebook three years ago. The word ‘degenerates’ was used, and he suggested that they be moved to some part of the city where he wouldn’t have to see them every day.
I understand Gopman was lambasted for that post back in 2013 when it was new. He has long since deleted the post and he now says he’s an advocate for the homeless. He even claims to have been at a charity event to raise money for the homeless when he got the news that he was fired. (Ironic x 2)
So did Twitter make the right move, cutting this guy loose? Were they worried about reputation assassination by proxy? Sure, the guy is high profile, but the post was 3 years old. Did Twitter fire him because they were embarrassed by their own lack of due diligence? Is it reasonable to expect an HR worker to dig up that tidbit before the contract was signed? Would it have turned out differently if Twitter wasn’t already in trouble for letting the trolls run wild?
That last one is the biggie. Right now, Twitter can’t afford to be caught hanging around with the bad crowd. A year ago, I could see Twitter making a case for keeping Gopman around. He’s changed his tune and the experience he brings will be a huge asset for the company. But with family-friendly Disney giving a buyout a second thought. . . . it’s a whole new world.
People get fired every day for the ugly, inappropriate or lamebrain things they post on social media, but this case feels a little different. What do you think? Did Twitter have a choice or was it made for them the moment Techcrunch posted that article?
What we need is a legal statute of limitations on social media postings. If you wrote something dumb in college and now you’re 45 and up for a high-profile job then it can’t be held against you. Until that happens, you’re better off keeping your opinions to yourself.