What started out as an off-color joke has blown up into a legit debate about social media’s policies toward racism, sexism, and threats.
All over a sexual overture towards Tony the Tiger.
It all started when a Twitter user named Alex Boivin saw a promoted tweet for Frosted Flakes in his timeline:
Sure, Cinnamon Frosted Flakes look GR-R-REAT. And that tiger on the box doesn├óΓé¼Γäót look half bad either. #blushing #cinnamongraph pic.twitter.com/AoTZItHW1S
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Tony the Tiger (@realtonytiger) August 7, 2017
To which Boivin responded:
We get it. The cereal account jokingly brings up its anthropomorphic mascot’s looks, he makes the joke of ironically taking it too far to show how absurd that is. Right?
Boivin told Buzzfeed News:
“The Tony tweet popped into my feed as a promoted tweet, I have a special loathing of these things. If you give me an opportunity to interact with a #brand that’s popping into my timeline without my consent, I’m gonna get weird. I thought ‘I’d fuck that tiger’ would be a funny joke and tweeted it without giving it a second thought. Just the idea of sexualizing this corporate cereal mascot struck me as a suitably bizarre thing to share with the sort of people who like to interact with promoted tweets from multi-billion-dollar food processing conglomerates.”
OK, all good. But never forget how difficult parody is on the Internet.
While Boivin thought it would be obvious what he wrote was facetious, there actually are people who sexualize Tony the Tiger. The account has been blocking furries who tweet at it for quite some time.
Don’t believe us? We told you about it LAST YEAR!
Naturally, people who heard about this and found it hilarious started trolling the account, so it’s only gotten worse. Crazy stuff.
So it seems @realtonytiger is now sending tweets directly to Twitter’s team, who suspended Boivin’s account for a week.
That didn’t sit too well with Boivin, considering the company doesn’t have the best track record of dealing with Nazis, who are sadly ALL OVER Twitter. He said:
“America has this back-ass-wards Calvinist streak where calling for the expulsion and genocide of non-white races is just a difference of opinion. But making a sex joke at a corporate mascot who paid money to advertise to you is cause for censure.”
See, now THAT’S a good tweet. (Is it fewer than 140?)
But when Boivin’s friend tweeted about his situation, writing:
And subsequently Buzzfeed News dropped its article, that’s when Boivin’s words really got people talking. (The thing he said about censorship, not the Tiger-fucking.)
Here are some of the best responses:
Most lucid political thought I’ve read this week came from guy who got suspended from Twitter for sexually harassing a cartoon cereal mascot pic.twitter.com/cW7sISCOPO
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Tom Gara (@tomgara) August 24, 2017
the potus: *sexually harassed multiple women*
twitter: seems fine enough to me
guy: sexually harassed tony the tiger
twitter: EXTERMINATE https://t.co/a1qX66517K
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ ├░┼╕┬Å┬│├»┬╕┬Å├óΓé¼┬ì├░┼╕┼Æ╦å├░┼╕┬Å┬│├»┬╕┬Å├óΓé¼┬ì├░┼╕┼Æ╦åCube├░┼╕┬Å┬│├»┬╕┬Å├óΓé¼┬ì├░┼╕┼Æ╦å├░┼╕┬Å┬│├»┬╕┬Å├óΓé¼┬ì├░┼╕┼Æ╦å (@CubeDamashii) August 24, 2017
Who will Twitter let you harass, based on evidence we’ve seen so far?
People of color? ├ó┼ôΓÇª
Queer folk? ├ó┼ôΓÇª
Do YOU think Twitter is protecting a corporate mascot better than it is actual people from racism, sexism, and threats?