If you’re going to be an activist during these tumultuous times then you better not fake it. Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin is learning that the hard way after video surfaced of her in Santa Monica, California in which she poses for a picture which shows her holding drill in front of a destroyed building being boarded up. After taking the picture, she hands the drill back to the man who gave it to her and thanks him for letting her use it as a prop. She then leaves the scene in a Mercedes.
You know what? I’m… I think I’m gonna put Twitter away for a few minutes before I throw this phone across the room. https://t.co/IfbFv1HvR2
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) June 2, 2020
Moriarty-McLaughlin, who is reportedly an intern with the Washington Examiner, likely didn’t anticipate backlash to come as social media exploded in negative sentiment calling her “FakeNewsFiona” and criticizing her for posing as an activist in order to boost her social media presence. The viral video even drew the ire of LeBron James:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 2, 2020
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Ironically, Moriarty-McLaughlin’s now-inactive Twitter handle was @factswithfiona and her bio read, “I’m just chasing the facts”
As a “commentary intern” and apparent journalist who’s whole MO is “chasing the facts,” this one’s a big no-no. If this was a random person just trying to look good on Instagram for her friends — not having any idea that something like this could blow up and making a split second decision as she was walking by to take this video — then I would have a little bit of sympathy for the backlash. Fiona knows though. She knows how news and video can be completely blown up in an instant.
The hope was obviously that she would just post the photo for some clout and nobody would ever know that she didn’t stick around to help out. I’m sure something similar has been done thousands of times on Instagram, but if there’s one thing that has become very, very evident from seeing these protests, riots, and even the George Floyd incident itself is that you are ALWAYS ON FUCKING VIDEO. And in a lot of ways that’s a very good thing. Even 15 years ago, an incident similar to the murder of George Floyd could have been swept under the rug due to the lack of social media and video to support what actually happened.
Fiona never could have imagined being called out by LeBron James on social media among countless others, but that’s her new reality. An apology would have been the appropriate action rather than going radio silent on social media. Acknowledging the fact that you undermined the greater cause in order to achieve personal gain and recognizing that it was the wrong thing to do certainly would have helped to quell some negative backlash. It’s certainly a learning experience and just another reminder to not be skeptical of what you see on Instagram and other social media platforms.
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