Everyone makes a bad tweet now and then. And sometimes a tweet is so bad, that the user has to delete it forever. But the internet never forgets.
On Monday, Chase deleted a tweet that blamed the average person’s financial troubles on buying coffee rather than, say, the inherent inequality of a system where Chase gets $25 billion in bailout money and regular Americans get nothing.
Chase apologized for the tweet, but the financial institution is far from the only Twitter user that has felt regret for their bad tweets.
Today we’re taking a look at 13 tweets that were so bad, they had to be permanently purged from the world. But they will live on in our garbage hearts forever.
13) Ashton Kutcher defends Joe Paterno
On April 2, 2011, Ashton Kutcher was enraged that Penn State would fire football coach Joe Paterno. Remember Paterno? He was the head coach of the Penn State football team and his assistant, Jerry Sandusky, was a noted pedophile.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 for abusing 10 boys over the course of 15 years. How much did Paterno precisely know about Sandusky’s despicable predatory behavior? It’s still unclear. But Paterno knew enough to be complicit in his silence.
And if you’re going to tweet about Paterno and Sandusky, maybe use the words “poor taste” to describe their acts, not their punishment. Sound like a deal, Ashton?
12) Fleshlight 9/11
Remember 2014? It was a simpler time. Pharrell Williams was topping the charts with a song called “Happy,” people were quite literally addicted to Google Glass, and relations between the U.S. and Cuba were finally thawing. And who can forget the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the one that brought us one of the weirdest tweets of all time?
Fleshlight, the company that makes sex toys for men, sent a tweet into the world that was strange given the messenger.
“Today is the 13th anniversary of 9/11,” Fleshlight tweeted. “We remember those lost, & honor those still fighting for freedom. #911NeverForget.”
Admittedly, this tweet is less strange to someone living five years later in the world of 2019. Our news cycle is so bizarre that shit like this is almost common. But believe me when I tell you that it was super weird in 2014—an era when the American president didn’t spend his entire morning retweeting 60 people to attack a potential political opponent.
11) StubHub can’t wait to get out of this hellhole
It’s one thing to say you’re happy for the weekend. It’s another thing entirely to invent a brand new word to describe your shitty workplace. And someone with social media access at StubHub did a bit of both back in 2012 when they said “Thank fuck it’s Friday” and described their work environment as a “stubsucking hell hole.”
StubHub deleted what they called an “unauthorized tweet” and apologized for the “inappropriate language used.”
There was some speculation by news sites like Mashable that maybe the account was hacked, but it seems much more likely that it was simply a case of a social media person posting to the wrong account. Either way, we can be sure that “stubsucking” caught on internally for employees of StubHub who were having a particularly bad day.
10) Kenneth Cole co-opts a real revolution
Egypt saw three weeks of mass protest in early 2011 that left hundreds dead and thousands injured. But while the world saw a revolution, Kenneth Cole saw a branding opportunity. The clothing retailer sent this tweet, piggybacking off the fact that #Cairo was trending and faced plenty of backlash in the process.
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo,” the official Kenneth Cole account tweeted. “Rumors they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo”
With the world getting weirder and countries like Venezuela on the brink of civil war, we can’t wait for a brand like Steak-umms to chime in about the true tenets of Marxism in the South American country. It’s only a matter of time, given the brand’s current trajectory.
9) Dr. Phil asks about having sex with drunk girls
“If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?” Dr. Phil tweeted in 2013. “Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused”
There are many different varieties of a bad tweet. And Dr. Phil’s August 20, 2013 tweet falls into the “just asking questions” category. You can tweet anything as long as it’s in the form of a question.
Is President Obama a secret Muslim who supports terrorists? Does Pepsi cause butt cancer? Will an asteroid hit earth next week and destroy all life on this planet as we know it? We’re just asking questions. Just like Dr. Phil asked if you should have sex with drunk girls.
Dr. Phil deleted the tweet following the subsequent uproar online but later said that people “misunderstood” what he was trying to say.
8) Erick Erickson shoots a copy of the New York Times with a gun
Unhinged people do crazy shit on Twitter all the time. But Erick Erickson isn’t your average unhinged lunatic. He’s a “respected” conservative pundit who appears on Meet the Press and Fox News. But being “respected” didn’t stop Erickson from literally shooting a copy of the New York Times with a gun. He eventually deleted the tweet, but it somehow made him even more popular with the pundit class.
The icing on the cake was when the New York Times invited Erickson to write op-ed pieces for the newspaper after his bizarre stunt. Seriously.
Erickson literally shot the newspaper with a gun and the newspaper of record decided that he should still get a chance to express his opinions in their newspaper. Just don’t ask Erickson about Hitler.
7) McDonald’s is the resistance
Back in March of 2017, McDonald’s sent a curious tweet directly to President Trump.
“You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”
The account even pinned the tweet to the top of its page. And while everything about the tweet was true, the fast food giant eventually deleted the tweet. Was it a disgruntled fry cook or a stressed out social media intern? Neither, according to the company.
“Based on our investigation, we have determined that our Twitter account was hacked by an external source,” McDonald’s said in a statement. We took swift action to secure it, and we apologize this tweet was sent through our corporate McDonald’s account.”
And we can understand why McDonald’s would need to apologize, given the president’s fondness for fast food. You don’t want to offend your single best customer.
6) Michael Cohen says Hillary Clinton is going to prison
Michael Cohen, former lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, is scheduled to start his 3-year prison sentence next week. But his tweet from December 19, 2015, is particularly ironic, given the situation.
Cohen tweeted “@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!”
Cohen pleaded guilty to defrauding America (hush money payments to a porn star made on behalf of the President to influence an election) and perjury (Cohen lied to Congress). Cohen’s room and board will also be free.
5) Celeb Boutique accidentally celebrates a mass shooting
On July 20, 2012, London-based fashion company Celeb Boutique tweeted that Aurora must be trending because of Kim Kardashian’s new dress. But that’s not why Aurora was trending. Aurora was trending because a murderer stormed a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 70.
“We didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion, again we do apologise,” the retailer tweeted.
“We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora - Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic,” the retailer continued.
4) Buffalo Wild Wings reveals the secret sauce
Buffalo Wild Wings sent a number of inappropriate tweets to its 700,000 followers back in June 2018, but it wasn’t the company’s fault.
“Our secret recipe is Tommy’s cum,” one of the tweets said. “That’s what makes our wings so good! ;)
“Buffalo Wild Wings’ Twitter account was hacked,” the company told Gizmodo at the time. “We’re sorry that our fans had to see those awful posts, which obviously did not come from us. We are in touch with our Twitter representatives and will pursue the appropriate action against the individuals involved.”
3) Anthony Weiner’s wiener
Former congressman Anthony Weiner couldn’t keep it in his pants. And that’s a really bad thing for an exhibitionist who has no idea how Twitter actually works. Weiner tweeted a photo of his junk to a 21-year-old Seattle college student on May 27, 2011, but, unbeknownst to him, it was completely public. Weiner didn’t understand that he wasn’t sending a private message.
Weiner first claimed that he had been hacked, tweeting, “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal” And some of the old news stories took at face value the idea that Weiner’s account had been compromised by an unknown hacker.
But the rest is history. Weiner wasn’t hacked and would get caught sexting with multiple people who weren’t his wife over the coming years. Weiner was forced to resign by June of 2011 but kept popping up again and again in public as he had repeated sexting scandals. At one point he even used the pseudonym “Carlos Danger” when sexting with a 22-year-old woman, which became endless fodder for the late night talk shows.
Weiner’s wife, Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin, finally left him in late 2016, but things got even more serious for Weiner when he was caught sexting with a 15-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, but only served 15 months.
2) SpaghettiOs remembers Pearl Harbor
Inappropriate brand remembrances are so common these days that they even get their own Onion articles. But SpaghettiOs had one of the weirdest brand tweets in living memory.
For the 72nd anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which finally pulled the U.S. into World War II, the canned pasta brand sent out a tweet with their mascot holding an American flag.
Because nothing says “remember Pearl Harbor” quite like a cartoon spaghetti product licking its lips and staring at Twitter users like it’s going to plant the flag in the middle of our faces.
The tweet got plenty of flack online and the owner of SpaghettiOs, Campbell Soup, deleted the strange post.
“We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend,” Campbell’s said in a follow-up tweet.
But it was the news articles that would follow which truly demonstrated how weird our world had gotten. Imagine going back in time 50 years and trying to explain a headline like, “SpaghettiOs apologizes for Pearl Harbor tweet.”
1) US Airways tweets an unconventional flight plan
And last, but certainly not least, we have the most notorious deleted tweet of all time. We’ve cropped the image above, but if you want to see the whole thing in its NSFW form, you can click here.
Yes, US Airways actually tweeted a photo of a woman, naked and spread-eagle, with a toy plane in her vagina. And yes, US Airways eventually deleted the tweet after about an hour of leaving it up.
The airline apologized, but the explanation was a bit confusing.
“It was an honest mistake,” US Airways spokesman Matt Miller told New York Daily News at the time. “It was in an attempt to flag the tweet as inappropriate.”
OK, guys. Whatever you say.
Honorable Mention: Ted Cruz’s Porn Like
While Senator Ted Cruz’s biggest Twitter scandal to date wasn’t technically a deleted tweet, it’s still worth mentioning.
Back in September of 2017, Twitter caught fire after people noticed that Cruz’s Twitter account had liked a video from the account @SexuallPosts. The video, originally titled “Dick for Two,” shows a woman masturbating from behind a pillar while she watches two other people have sex.
Curiously enough, Cruz once argued as Texas Solicitor General that sex toys weren’t a right.
“There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship,” Cruz’s legal team wrote in 2007.
Cruz denied that he was the one who “accidentally” hit the like button on the tweet, hinting that it must have been someone else on his staff. But that person was never named.