There are a few things about the internet that are always true — once you’ve put something out there it never goes away and that people can change but your past follows you forever. It might not be fair, but it’s true; once you’ve done or said it on the internet it is forever. A third thing that is often true, too, is that you’ll find some really stupid things to assault your eyes online.
When all these things happen at once it’s a recipe for disaster, and Samsung is right in the middle of it this time.
A central figure in Samsung’s green bubble appreciation campaign is comedian and social media influencer Claudia Oshry, a.k.a. @girlwithnojob. She seems like a nice enough person if you take a look at her Twitter and Instagram history and is filled with energy, funny, and friendly. What you can’t see are the posts she’s deleted.
Yeah. That’s not the kind of bubbly personality that makes me want to spend $1,000 on a phone. It’s the kind of thing that makes me not want to support a company who is so clueless it thinks this is a proper brand ambassador.
I’m not going to dive into the issues surrounding how this past came to light other than to say Oshry has since apologized and deleted everything controversial and that she should never have been held accountable for the actions of her family. You can read here and here for the ugly backstory. What I am going to say is that you can’t undo something that’s been shared on the internet and to Samsung: have you lost your mind? Maybe go with someone who has a past that’s a lot less horrible and racist.
To be fair, the people who designed and built the phones like the Galaxy Note 10 are not the same people who went in search of an influencer to promote green bubbles. I don’t care. You shouldn’t care. Samsung’s name is on this and it is 100% responsible. You don’t have to hate the products to hate the stupid things the company does.
This was bound to come up when Samsung chose Oshry to lead the Green Bubble campaign. The internet never forgets.
You’re also free to disagree and think that Oshry’s past behavior was just fine and PC culture needs to die it’s just SJW yackety yak all you like. I know me speaking out about this is going to bring out people who condone this horrible behavior and will tell me how wrong I am because I do not. But you’re not Samsung, who is trying to sell products to everyone and should pass on any type of spokesperson with a checkered past.
Even if you give Oshry the benefit of the doubt and feel like she has grown as a person and truly regrets her prior bullshittery, it’s still too much drama for any sort of corporate campaign. People can change, and it seems like Oshry is trying to be a better person. But the internet never forgets and this was bound to come up when Samsung hitched its wagon to her.
A bigger issue is that this came to light days ago and Samsung has done nothing to address it. By not giving some sort of response, it seems like Samsung doesn’t care and is fine with its name being associated with disparaging comments towards Islam, sexual orientation, mental illness, and more. It’s pretty simple, Samsung — by allowing this it looks like you condone it. Maybe Samsung’s leadership isn’t aware, but someone is. You just launched a really nice new product, and you’re right when you call out shallow people who look down on someone because of their phone. Distancing yourself from hate is also a really good idea.
Samsung’s silence is puzzling. It also gives us room to speculate how it really feels.
We’ve all done and said things we’re ashamed of or wish we could take back. But we can’t. We are personally responsible for the things we do and say, and Oshry has addressed her past the way she feels is best. We shouldn’t hold ill will towards someone who is genuinely trying to be better. But no matter how you feel about this bit of internet drama, you probably can see that Samsung should have distanced itself from it all. Proper vetting — hell even a simple Google search — would have been wise before putting your latest campaign into these hands.