Teen Sends Kansas Governor "You Suck" Tweets
- uploaded: Nov 29, 2011
- Hits: 12
Emma Sullivan talks to CNN's Brooke Baldwin about her tweet to Kansas Governor that said "He Sucked" for which Kansas Gov. Brownback's office demanded an apology.
Eighteen-year-old Emma Sullivan of Fairway, Kan., made national headlines Monday when Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback apologized to her on his Facebook page.
The impetus for the unusual mea culpa: a 73-character tweet and an overzealous political staffer.
During a Youth in Government field trip to the state capitol on Nov. 21, Sullivan tweeted, "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot." The New York Times reports that Sullivan sent the tweet while "standing in the back of a crowd of about 100 students" as Brownback addressed the students. The Washington Post notes that Sullivan "didn't really say that to him â€¦ but said she sent the tweet as a joke to her friends."
Brownback's director of communication, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, somehow stumbled upon the tweet and didn't think it was very funny. She contacted event organizers to complain; word eventually reached the administration at Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan., and last week principal Karl Krawitz ordered Sullivan to write a letter of apology to the governor.
But citing First Amendment free speech protections, Sullivan refused to say that she was sorry. Local support for her right to tweet her political conscience started boiling over in the media, and so on Monday Brownback felt obligated to apologize for Jones-Sontag's actions.
Brownback's Facebook apology "regarding the tweet by Emma Sullivan" begins, "My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms." (The full text is available here.)
In addition to the governor's apology, the Kansas teen also obtained thousands of new Twitter followers. The Los Angeles Times reports, "Sullivan's followers on Twitter increased from about five dozen to more than 11,000 in days, a rate of growth that would be the envy of any celebrity; she swamped Brownback, who has his nearly 3,300 followers. She also attracted a range of support, even offers of legal help, from those who saw the battle as one about free speech."
Sulivan perceived her growing number of Twitter followers as justification for her comment, Kansas TV station KSCW reported. The new followers meant to her that people were taking her side and that she didn't need to apologize after all.
Her apparent sudden popularity and the focus on freedom of speech led others to wonder what the incident means about civility, common sense and etiquette in America.
FAIR USE NOTICE: The material on this channel is provided solely for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Infringement of copyright is not intended. The material is made available to help educate people about health related issues. It is believed that this constitutes a 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17, section 107 of the US Copyright Law. The material is distributed without profit to those who would like to use such material for research and educational purposes. FAIR USE NOTICE The use of the media material found on this channel is protected by the Fair Use Clause of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, which allows for the rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary, criticism, and education.