people
People magazine tweet Sept. 25, 2014, regarding Viola Davis’ performance in premiere of How to Get Away With Murder

Twitter         

Thursday night was a huge night for prime-time television, with season premieres of Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. With both shows proving to be hits on social media, various media outlets live-tweeted the premieres. But People magazine didn’t exactly win over the crowd with some of its tweets. Apparently the person behind People’s Twitter account has the intellectual capacity of a gnat.

First there was the tweet about Kerry Washington’s hair on Scandal:

Olivia’s back to straight hair so you KNOW she means business. #Scandal

— People magazine (@peoplemag) September 26, 2014

The tweet, which of course was deleted after receiving several “WTF, People?” responses, should have been a sign for the social media person to step away from the keyboard. But no. That didn’t happen.

During How to Get Away With Murder, People decided to remind everyone that Viola Davis, who plays a law professor on the series, was once a maid on The Help:

people

Sure enough, that tweet received more “WTF, People?” responses:

As with every slip of the Twitter finger, People issued an apology:

It’s stuff like this that highlights the fact that many of these media outlets are not diverse enough to realize how something can be offensive. 

You’d think a magazine that was recently sued for discrimination by the only black senior editor it’s ever had would tread lightly when it comes to its social media interactions. In August, according to the Huffington Post, Tatsha Robertson filed a lawsuit alleging that her former boss left her out of meetings, passed over story pitches involving black people and verbally reprimanded her because of the way she spoke, once telling her, “You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence anymore.”

The suit also describes People as “a discriminatory organization run entirely by white people who intentionally focus the magazine on stories involving white people and white celebrities.”

Robertson’s lawsuit says she was terminated because of her race, although People claims it was a reduction in workforce.

“We’re hoping that ultimately we will have a jury trial and the jury will send a message to Time Inc. and People magazine that you cannot discriminate against people based on the color of their skin, and that includes making discriminatory decisions about what articles and stories will go in the magazine,” Robertson's lawyer, David Gottlieb, told the Huffington Post.

People magazine not only has a social media problem on its hands but also has an issue with discrimination and a lack of diversity. But what else is new in mainstream media?

For more of black Twitter, check out The Chatterati on The Root and follow The Chatterati on Twitter.

Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.