Spike Lee really screwed up this week when he tweeted to his 250,000+ followers what he believed to be the address of George Zimmerman, the man in Florida who shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman is not currently in custody.
However, the address doesn’t belong to Zimmerman. It belongs to elderly couple Elaine and David McClain, who were forced to flee their home and stay in a hotel after the tweet because of threats of violence.
There were cries that Lee should have done his homework before tweeting out the address, but that’s not really the point. He should not have tweeted out any address, regardless of whether it was correct or not. An angry, vigilante mob is not the way to solve this problem. It certainly won’t bring justice for Trayvon Martin. And will just beget more violence, possibly against people who had nothing to do with the incident, like Zimmerman’s family or neighbors. But even if the violence managed to only be against Zimmerman, that’s still not OK.
Lee took to Twitter late Wednesday night (March 28) to apologize, but even in his apology, he missed the point. He tweets, “I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address.It
Was A Mistake.Please Leave The McClain’s In Peace.Justice In Court.”
That’s nice and all. At least he didn’t just remain silent. But maybe he should apologize for retweeting anyone’s address. What did he think tweeting the address would accomplish? What was he encouraging people to do? There’s no way the tweet was meant to convey, “Here’s Zimmerman’s address. Just FYI. Don’t do anything, though.” Because then why retweet it at all?
Maybe everyone – especially celebrities, who have a much larger platform at their disposal than the average citizen – needs to be more responsible before they go tweeting out the personal information of anyone.