In case anyone needs to be reminded about the perils of Twitter, a Los Angeles Times stringer in Asia received a harsh lesson Thursday after posting a tweet wishing “Donald Trump’s life [to] end.”
The Times fired Steven Borowiec, who has written about North and South Korea for the newspaper, after his tweet was linked on the Drudge Report and prompted a social media firestorm.
Borowiec, who has written extensively for the paper from his base in Seoul, South Korea, had been responding to a tweet from Time magazine touting a feature on Trump’s “life in pictures.”
“I would rather see Donald Trump’s life end,” he tweeted, in the middle of Thursday evening in Seoul.
A few hours later, after his tweet attracted unwelcome attention and he deleted it, Borowiec declared on Twitter: “I apologize for my Trump tweet. I meant it in jest.”
Borowiec’s hasty apology did nothing to mitigate his punishment, or, for that matter the outraged abuse heaped upon him on the Internet.
Typical tweeted responses included:
*“ARREST HIM NOW, @SecretService, for threatening the life of a presidential candidate.”
*“Look another libtard deleted something. You vermin always scurry like nasty rats when the lights come on!”
*“The piece of garbage needs to be fired asap”
*“Pretty clear you've just signed your own death warrant as a journalist. Unfortunate you'll be judged on this 1 tweet.”
And this lament from James Newburg, who describes himself as “a political science PhD student at Michigan” studying “how intergroup attitudes affect politics:
“How stupid. How deeply stupid. Thanks for undermining the public's trust in journalists.”
After the controversy roiled for several hours, The Times issued a terse statement:
“Earlier today, Steven Borowiec, a freelance journalist in South Korea, posted a tweet about Donald Trump on his personal Twitter profile that violated our professional standards.
“The Los Angeles Times is committed to fair, evenhanded coverage of the presidential campaign, and expects all journalists representing the paper, including non-staff contributors such as Mr. Borowiec, to adhere to this standard in their articles and social media posts.
“We regard Mr. Borowiec’s comment as inexcusable, and we have ended our relationship with him.”
The Daily Beast’s attempt to reach Borowiec was unsuccessful.