Hall of Shame: Philly’s Greatest Social Media Fails

The Twitter scandal that felled Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo this spring was hardly the first controversial moment to engulf the city's news feeds. We take a look back.

social media fails philadelphia

Illustration by Alyse Moyer

We’ve seen nothing more bizarre than the Twitter scandal that felled Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo this spring. (Short version: His wife used burner accounts to defend her husband — and his sartorial choices — and revealed sensitive team info in the process.) But it wasn’t the first — nor will it be the last — controversial moment to engulf local news feeds.

Here, the most head-scratching, shame-soaked moments in recent Philly social media memory.

Frank Stallone | 2018

“This David Hogg pussy is getting a little big for his britches.”

Fallout: Frank’s insults to the Parkland shooting survivor were quickly deleted, but that didn’t stop Twitter from roasting Rocky’s lil’ bro and the, ahem, shortcomings of his résumé.

Upshot: Stallone immediately rocketed back to complete irrelevance.

Carson Wentz | 2018

“Best dog and hunting buddy I could ask for!” Wentz wrote of a cute pic of his pup beside a pile of dead geese.

Fallout: Animal-loving fans called Wentz insensitive. He fired back that all he tweets about are Jesus and hunting and, long story short, he won’t apologize.

Upshot: Wentz could, to borrow a phrase, shoot somebody in the street and not lose Philly support.

Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh | 2017

Right after Charlottesville, the Chester County sheriff (and 2016 Trump delegate) “liked” a post claiming Nazis and the KKK pose no “real” threat to human life, while Black Lives Matter and Antifa do; she then posed with the book The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.

Fallout: Critics called for her resignation; Welsh dismissed the controversy as “poor timing.”

Upshot: The five-term sheriff will be up for reelection in 2019.

Pat Toomey | 2017

“Obamacare is failing Pennsylvanians.”

Fallout: As with most of Senator Toomey’s tweets during peak voter outrage over his refusal to host a town-hall meeting, this one got #ratioed — i.e., more angry replies than likes or retweets.

Upshot: Toomey remains as popular with Tea Partiers, and unpopular with liberals, as ever.

Jim Kenney | 2014

“Wow!! 515 total idiots follow you. Congrats on your mass appeal you tool bag!”

Fallout: As a Councilman, Kenney was a free-wheeling tweeter; this is from an exchange over his criticism of Fox 29’s crime coverage.

Upshot: As mayor, Kenney has toned down the come-at-me-bro act. We miss it.

Joyce Evans | 2013

“Thought ‘Breaking Bad’ was hot last Sunday? See who’s breakin’ bad in SW Philly leavin’ 6 people SHOT – Tonite at Ten!”

Fallout: Response to the Fox 29 reporter’s promo was swift, including from comedian Patton Oswalt, who went off.

Upshot: Not a year later, Evans’s colleague Steve Keeley tweeted that the “hottest filling on Passyunk last night” was not from a cheesesteak place “but 2 shooters.” Lesson not learned.

Jill Scott | 2013

“Twerking was invented when some woman of African descent ran out of toilet paper. There’s plenty now. Kmart, 7-Eleven, Target … good prices 2”

Fallout: Jilly From Philly’s raunchy joke went over people’s heads. Fans called out her insinuation that African people are poor. Scott replied: “No fool.”

Upshot: Jill now has her own line of Hallmark cards—full of poetry, no TP jokes.

Published as “Socially Awkward” in the August 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.