Was @adriarichards right or wrong about #donglegate?



Let’s start with the bottom line first. Both sides of the argument have valid points. With that said, let’s get to the facts on the matter…

The full story can be found on Buzzfeed, but here’s the short version:

  • A woman heard an inappropriate joke told behind her at a conference.
  • She tweeted the incident including a picture of the perpetrators.
  • Conference officials pulled her our, identified the perpetrators, then removed them.
  • One of the perpetrators was fired from their job after the incident started going viral.
  • The woman reporting the incident was fired from her job because of the backlash over the incident.
  • Anonymous started attacking her company while Reddit started supporting the perpetrator who was fired.
  • Twitter is all abuzz about #Donglegate.

Here’s the Tweet that started it all:

People are getting fired. Other people are picking sides. There will likely be lawsuits involved at some point. Either way, it’s already turned into a public discussion about decency, over-reaction, public shaming, and sexually-driven “fun and games”. There is very little doubt that this has gone from a crude joke to a huge debacle from every angle. Who’s right on this one? Is it possible that both sides were wrong? Should anyone have been fired? Is any of this worthy of being a trending topic?

To me, this is a question of both sides being right. It’s also a matter of both sides being wrong. Inappropriate jokes should not be made in public and one can argue that they shouldn’t be made at all. Public shaming is often a way to get attention to the shamer, not just the shamees. With all of that said, this really shouldn’t be an issue that gets anyone fired. Reprimand – absolutely. Getting kicked out of a conference – probably. The public way that all of this is going down, however, is the real problem here.

So many people are speaking out about it on both sides, but sadly it’s the absurdity of the whole situation that is getting their attention and fueling the fires. This isn’t just about Adria Richards or the inappropriate joke makers. They are, in many ways, both victims in this. It has gone public, gone viral, and now there are real victims in the matter. The public smelled blood and now we’re going after the debate. That’s the biggest problem with all of this. It should never have gone this far.

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