The only exciting news to come out of another long NHL Trade Deadline Day on Monday was TSN airing a wildly inappropriate joke tweet that somehow got past whatever social media intern was supposed to be manning the system.
Screenshots of the broadcast quickly spread around the interweb and even earned a reply from one of the players in question. By 1pm, the TSN PR account tweeted out a general apology.
However, TSN didn’t issue a formal online or onscreen apology until last night during their Leafs broadcast, and that was only after the parties involved in the tweet, Maple Leafs players Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf, and Phaneuf’s wife Elisha Cuthbert issued a lawsuit threat to the network as well as the original author of the tweet in question. Below is the statement:
The following is a statement by Peter A. Gall, Q.C. of Gall Legge Grant & Munroe LLP on behalf of their clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul.
“On behalf of our clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul, we have sent a letter to TSN demanding that TSN issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show yesterday. We are sending a similar letter to the author of the tweet, Mr. Anthony Adragna.
“It is bad enough that there are people who spend their time using social media to publish such false and malicious stories, but it is made much worse when a reputable media outlet like TSN gives broad circulation and credibility to these false stories by republishing them as TSN did.
“If TSN and Mr. Adragna do not immediately comply with the demands set out in our letters, we have instructions from our clients to immediately commence a lawsuit against them.
And TSN’s apology:
On Monday when TSN was reporting on the NHL trade deadline it displayed a scrolling ticker of tweets from the public.
In spite of TSN’s protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false, and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run.
There was no basis for the false allegation made in this tweet.
TSN unreservedly apologizes to Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert and regrets any embarrassment this unfortunate incident has caused to them.
It seems unlikely that this will go to court and no doubt TSN will pay damages to the trio in an undisclosed settlement.
We can only hope that this leads to the end of sports broadcasts being filled with boring and uninteresting tweets and hashtags. Does anyone other than the author actually read the endless stream that adds nothing of value to the broadcast? In the end, the TSN’s of the world will most likely continue to show viewer tweets, albeit with much more moderation, as they want to social media for further #engagement and improving their #brand.