Police apologise over ‘insensitive’ traffic death tweet using Steve Carell meme
The now-deleted post to social media included an animated meme from the US version of The Office.
Police in New Zealand were forced to apologise after an “insensitive” tweet was shared from an official account.
In a now-deleted message the force wrote: “When we have to tell someone their family member has died in a crash” accompanied by a meme of US actor Steve Carell.
The gif showed him in character in the US version of television show The Office with the text: “This is the worst!”
OK, it's only Monday, but this tweet by NZ Police already takes the booby prize for social media fail of the week. Tone-deaf. pic.twitter.com/w4xG3NAyPL— Nik Dirga (@nikdirga) October 9, 2017
Twitter users were quick to pull up the police for their insensitivity which came after a number of road traffic fatalities in the country at the weekend.
Nine people died in what the New Zealand Herald called “one of the grimmest weekends on New Zealand roads”.
New Zealand Police later apologised for the mishap in a tweet and replies.
We apologise for the recent road safety tweet. We quickly realised it was wrong & insensitive & it was immediately deleted. Thx for feedback— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) October 9, 2017
Hi, we're sorry this was not meant to cause offence. Telling someone their family member has died is literally the worst part of the job.— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) October 9, 2017
One Twitter user praised the police for the way they had notified her grandparents when she lost three family members in a crash but questioned the tweet.
“I’m angry at this,” said user Julia_Mac_Music. “You shame hard working member of the NZ Police Force.”
Lost 3 of my family & you were great at notifying my grandparents. I'm angry at this. You shame hard working member of the NZ police force.— Julia MacDonell (@julia_mac_music) October 9, 2017
The force does attempt to use humour for its road safety messages.
One post, from October 6, read: “Take it slow on the roads this weekend”, with a gif of a dog riding on a tortoise.
Take it slow on the roads this weekend ️ pic.twitter.com/dPq6vgjrg5— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) October 6, 2017
Twitter users have welcomed the apology for the Carell tweet.
Thinking of the social team @nzpolice today - a bad call but good on you for being upfront & apologising ASAP.— Krystle Field (@KrystleF) October 9, 2017
Awesome to acknowledge an error... grows trust to do so... I never saw the tweet, however nice one to apologise— Denise Dry (@DeniseKayeDry) October 9, 2017