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He criticised her on Facebook. And she went straight to his boss.

Charlotte-Dawson
Charlotte-Dawson

By MAMAMIA TEAM

Charlotte Dawson is no stranger to controversy on social media.

But her experiences with platforms like Twitter, is that of a TV personality; a celebrity with a huge audience. So none of it is relevant to us regular people who just use Facebook to catch up with friends and post photos of cats on Instagram, right?

Wrong.

Because now it seems that when you speak to a celebrity on social media, your comments might just be the business of someone else. Like, your employer.

A man named Andrew Moros wrote on the Australia’s Next Top Model Facebook page last week – the show on which Dawson is a judge – criticising Dawson and fellow judge Alex Perry for having too much plastic surgery. Moros wrote:

“Judges Charlotte Dawson, and Alex Perry Jeesus Christchurch guys lay off the botox and fillers!!! You two need help.”

While Dawson has disclosed that she has used botox, she insists that she has never used fillers (in case you’re wondering: fillers are injectables that plump up the skin in your cheeks, below your eyes, to make your face appear more youthful and sometimes puffy).

Angered by Moros’ tweet, Dawson tracked him down via his Facebook page and saw that he had listed publicly that he was an employee of Flight Centre. So Dawson wrote to Flight Centre, to object about their employee’s online behaviour. She said:

“While we anticipate some people are going to have opinions about the show and even express their distaste for the appearance of participants and judges, Alex and I feel that posts of this nature do not reflect well on Flight Centre.

I am a 47-year-old woman who has Botox. I don’t have fillers. Whilst Andrew has every right to express his disgust at the condition of our faces, I don’t believe our choices should be slammed by a Flight Centre employee.”

Alex Perry also took to social media to express his outrage, tweeting:

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Now the comments were rude – no doubt about that. And sadly social media is often a platform where people feel emboldened to be offensive and cruel in a way that they simply would never be willing to behave in person.

Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry.
Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry.

But. Is that the fault of their employer? Is it, in fact, anything to do with their employer? If the behaviour isn’t harrassing or derogatory in a way that breaches any laws, is it really something that a business who happens to pay that person’s salary, should be bothered with?

These are genuine questions.

Given that Moros was using social media outside of work, and using his personal social media account, is it really fair to involve Fight Centre at all?

Flight Centre has since come forward and said that, despite attracting controversy for the brand after Charlotte Dawson went public, Moros will not be punished in any way. His employment with the company will continue.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware of what has been said publicly. From our point of view, the comment was made on his personal account in his personal time so it is not an issue for us to be commenting on. He has formally written an apology to both Charlotte and Alex from his personal email.”

Recently, there have been some cases – such as those involving the defence force – where individuals have been censured by their workplaces for making comments of these nature on their personal social media accounts, if they have listed who their employer is.

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But while Moros’ comments are far from polite, Dawson makes a living remarking on other people’s appearances. So is getting the same back in return to be expected? Perhaps all is fair in love and social media. Or perhaps this might have been a different case that Flight Centre would consider, if the remark had been racist, homophobic or sexist.

Understandably, Dawson is sensitive about what’s said about her on social media. In August 2012, Dawson was hospitalised after an evening of Twitter abuse, inspired after Dawson responded similarly to another harassing tweet, and let an employer know what their staff member was saying online.

"The boundaries between the online world and the real world are becoming increasingly blurred."
“The boundaries between the online world and the real world are becoming increasingly blurred.”

This time around, Dawson has also been criticised for her actions in responding to Moros’ comments. Some tweeters have called her out for trying to get Moros fired.

Dawson has responded on twitter, with: “… not at all never wanted anyone sacked. He apologised for his actions & has offered to help combat cyber bullying. Great!”

The ‘social media world’ and the ‘real world’ can intersect in other areas, too. Employers now are much more likely to have a look at your Facebook to suss you out before they give you a job. Some types of work – such as television journalism – even require their employees to be on Twitter, and acting as a representative for the company.

But with no clear boundaries, there are no clear rules for how we – either members of the public, or public figures – are expected to behave. For the moment it seems, that everything and everyone, is fair game.

UPDATE: Charlotte Dawson has provided Mamamia with a quote:

As you know, I’ve been as passionate anti cyber bullying advocate for some time. Yes, being on TV & being old & botoxed is expected, also I’m called a bully for being a judge on a model show. I’m not ashamed of how I look or of the choices I have made. But I am getting trolled by people on social media and online today telling me I deserve this? It’s like telling the fat/skinny/Jewish/Arab kid to just cop it. It doesn’t make it right? Alex & I never wanted anyone to lose their job we merely approached flight centre to see if Andrew Moros views reflected their core values. He exhibited clearly on his page he was a representative of Flight Centre. They seemed to have no problem with it & realising his comments were fairly cutting, personal & harsh he issued a lovely apology. I have spoken to my representatives today after reading what’s online and  am standing down from my anti bullying work for time being. If I speak out I get slammed down so it helps nobody in the end. It’s a fight I can’t win sadly.

She also provided Mamamia with the apology she received from Andrew Moros:

Dear Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry,

I would like to sincerely apologise for the comment I made on the Australia’s Next Top Model fan page.

I believe that every person has a right to a personal opinion, however in this case my opinion has caused offence to you both, which I am deeply sorry for.

Please note I have taken down the comment on the fan page, and also deactivated my Facebook account in order to rectify the situation and prove my sincerity.

I have always been a big fan of ANTM and will continue to be.

Again, I am truly sorry for any harm or disrespect I may have caused you.

Sincerely,

Andrew Moros

What do you think: should what you say online be able to cost you your job?

Comments on this post are now closed. (19th July, 2pm)

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