Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Waiter Fired for Tweeting:: Quelle Surprise About Barney Greengrass PR Fail

Recessionary Tales

I'll be posting a more "sociological" version of this on ThickCulture later in the week, but I wanted to post this sooner rather than later.  This is the first post of an occassional series called recessionary tales.   saw this story of a waiter, Jon-Barret Ingles being fired from a Beverly Hills restaurant for Tweeting about their clientele.  The flashpoint seems to have been an incident where Jane Adams couldn't pay a $13.44 bill, but her agent did so the two days later sans gratuity.  He blogged about the incident::
"They paid the bill, $13.75, no tip. Not a big deal to me financially but the principle of the thing was ridiculous. I put my neck on the line by letting her leave without paying and end up getting screwed. And she couldn't have even screwed me herself she had her agent screw me. Granted the screwing was painless and undetectable."
and his tweeting::

" decided to Tweet about the incident. I know nothing about Twitter. I follow 21 people and 22 follow me. Mostly hot young girls that want me to look at their webcams. I had only posted five Tweets prior. I would talk about whatever celebrity came in that day. I figured the 40 people following me might find it slightly amusing. There wasn't much else in my life that felt Tweetable. I Tweeted about the actress and the leaving and the agent not tipping. Got it off my chest. Interesting litle anecdote. I went back to watching her show and enjoying her career choices."
She came back, in person, to give him a $3 tip.  She seemed annoyed::
"I chased after her. 'Thank you again for coming back to give me this.'  She stopped and turned her head with disgust and said, 'My friend read about it on Twitter!' She turned and walked off."
I actually think these observations of his are telling of "celebrity culture" and how status and perceptions are manufactured::
"I started thinking about her and how removed she was from this whole situation, which was her fault, until she was forced to participate by her own vanity. I wasn't a peer to her, I wasn't a fan, I wasn't even a person. I was a nuisance to her routine. I was her fly circling her head. She had no apology. She had no remorse. She couldn't see the humor in the whole thing. She made a big deal about fishing out $3 from her massive cable TV pay check in order to hopefully make herself look good. "
 I chuckled at this, as it seems like Jane shares quite a bit with the characters she plays, such as "Carrie" in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind {2004}::

Well, despite him not naming the restaurant on his blog or in his tweets, Barney's corporate office urged his manager to fire him after 5 years of service.

The logic of this is that the restaurant wants a safe place for celebrities, ostensibly where what they order and how they behave can be sheltered from the prying eyes of...those who catapult them to fame and make them going concerns.

First off, I think Barney's squandered an opportunity here to turn this into positive PR.  Now, they look like heavies quashing the "little guy," i.e., everyone who "doesn't matter" in the Hollywood machine.  They could have turned this into an interesting social media experiment that could have been plugged into the Barney Greengrass experience.  This could have been done multiple ways, either focusing on the clientele or fans of celebrity culture, if they took the time to see the potential.  Nope.  Fire the guy.  It's a bad exposure.

My other point has to do with celebrity culture in general.  As I've alluded to above, it's a dual-edged sword.  Playing the public perception game and living the Hollywood lifestyle feeds the machine that makes celebrities a going concern.  Yet, at times, they want to have their privacy and have safe havens where their every move isn't scrutinized.  Until, of course, nobody cares and then privacy goes out the window and it might be time to even think about "leaking" scandalous video.  Social media can skewer privacy, so celebrities should think long and hard about their level of involvement in the "life."  Some choose not to play the fame game.  Maybe not everyone in the entertainment industry feels they have that luxury, but, in the end it's a choice.

I really hope Jon-Barret lands on his feet {perhaps as a writer} and I'm sure, just like with the "Cisco Fatty" incident, there are plenty of finger-waggers out there calling him a cautionary tale.  Please.  As maintaining privacy becomes more and more difficult, I think one day we'll look upon these incidents wondering what the big deal was.  As private and public blur for everyone, will it make sense for society to accept what is tantamount to a "corporate decorum"?  Is the moral of the story:: "You have free speech, but you better not use it if you want to keep you job, particularly in a downturn"?

Oh, and as for Jane Adams.  A Twitter search on early Tuesday morning shows she has more PR fallout from this that's sure to be a nuisance to her routine.

Twitterversion::  Actor, @PapaBarrett, fired by #Barney Greengrass for ostensibly miffing #janeadams. Corporate #fail & sociology of celeb culture.  @Prof_K
Song:: Section 19 (When The Fool Becomes A King) - The Polyphonic Spree

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