Thursday, August 7, 2014

Randy Orton: Bully or Victim

Randy Orton and the fan in question
Photo from Twitter
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm sure by now you've heard about the Randy Orton incident with a female fan.  If you missed it, Orton recently retweeted a pic referring to the woman as "Latino Ms. Piggy."  (If you speak or read Spanish, it should be Latina, but I digress...)  This is the exact tweet...

"Look @kimklro I met the Latino Ms. Piggy today at the gym. I wish you were there to have a good laugh with me! #MsPig"

The fan in question has apparently been stalking Orton and his girlfriend for quite some time.  Randy has since deleted the tweet and issued an apology.  

"I apologize if any of my previous tweets offended anyone. The answer to bullying isn't more bullying..."

This is just my opinion, but I think that Randy Orton did the wrong thing by posting what he did about the fan.  I understand that this woman probably has been bugging the hell out of him and his girlfriend on social media and even in real life.  But there was probably a better way to nip that in the bud.

I work in local TV news.  I am in no way comparing the exposure I receive in my market to what WWE Superstars go through.  But I have been harassed online, on the phone, and even in person.  I've never resorted to flinging the insults back at the person in question. Pardon the pun, but it's bad for business.

Orton in action
Photo courtesy: WWE
WWE is a publicly traded company.  They are the creators of the "Be A Star" campaign aimed at ending bullying.  Going on social media and calling this woman a pig has done nothing but make Orton look like a bully.  I get the frustration, but find a different way to deal with it.

Acknowledging fans who are seeking "15 minutes of fame" gives them more fuel to keep targeting celebrities.  I don't know the fan's motive, but it seems like if she's making things public on social media, she's seeking attention.  When a celebrity gives a response, good or bad, it satisfies the fans' need for notoriety and likely encourages others to do the same thing.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that Orton (or any harassed celebrity) shouldn't stand up for themselves when it comes to overzealous fans.  But it's important to do it in a way that doesn't end up backfiring and making the star and the company they work for look bad.  Besides, I've always found that when someone is hating, there are plenty of other supporters to take care of the negativity.

Bottom line, what Randy Orton did was wrong.  And from what I've read, what the fan did was wrong too.  Yes, we're paying customers, but it doesn't justify stalking anyone.  We all know two wrongs don't make a right.  I hope that Randy will be the bigger man next time and perhaps let the WWE and the police (if necessary) handle the situation.

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