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16 People Who Tweeted Themselves Into Unemployment

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Last night an offensive tweet from a PR executive on her way to Africa sparked a social media firestorm. By the time she landed, her employer, Barry Diller's IAC, had deleted her from the company website. Twitter may limit you to 140 characters, but that’s more than enough room to stick your foot in your mouth.

1. Taylor Palmisano

Image: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In 2011, Taylor Palmisano—@itstaytime, “Majoring in Finance with an emphasis in Taynomics”—went on a series of racist Twitter rants. Sometime between now and then, she landed a job as deputy finance director for the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. You know where this is headed, of course; the terrible tweets were discovered and Palmisano was promptly booted from the position. Not helping her case: She recently sent a roundly mocked holiday letter to Walker supporters urging them to forego toys for the kids this year and instead donate to the Walker campaign, which is “the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of.”

2. Jofi Joseph

Think that tweeting under an alias will allow you to rant about your job under a cloak of anonymity? Think again. In October, Jofi Joseph, a director at the National Security Staff at the White House, was outed as the man behind @natsecwonk, a gossipy account dedicated to skewering White House officials. Joseph was removed from his job after an elaborate sting by co-workers uncovered that he was responsible for tweets such as “Vitriol against @arifleischer entirely justified. He married a woman a decade younger than him—and she's as ugly as he is! #jackass” and “Has rich kid Tagg Romney ever even been in a fight? [...] He needs to tell his mom to lose about 15 pounds.”

3. Nicole Crowther

Image: Huffington Post

Hell hath no fury like Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk scorned. When Glee extra Nicole Crowther tweeted a spoiler of a pivotal scene, series co-creator Falchuk responded with, “hope you’re qualified to work in something besides entertainment,” and he wasn’t kidding. The actress later said she was suspended from multiple casting agencies for weeks, and the agency that does the casting for Glee account told her that she’d never again work for any show they handle.

4. Sunith Baheerathan

Bad idea: Tweeting about drug deals. Worse idea: Tweeting about making drug deals at work. Worst idea: Tweeting your specific work location so cops can find you and you lose your job. That’s essentially what happened to Sunith Baheerathan, a worker at Mr. Lube in Vaughn, near Toronto. Not long after he tweeted “Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop? Come to Keele/Langstaff Mr. Lube, need a spliff,” local police happened across Baheerathan’s not-so-coded message. Const. Blair McQuillan of York Regional Police responded with, “Awesome! Can we come too?” and notified Mr. Lube of the potential drug exchange. Baheerathan was fired.

5. Two Firefighters

Also in the Toronto area, two firefighters were dismissed after posting sexist comments to their Twitter accounts earlier this year. What kind of sexist comments, you ask? Here are a couple of gems:

"Reject a woman and she will never let it go. One of the many defects of their kind. Also weak arms."
"Would swat [sic] her in the back of the head been considered abuse or a way to reset the brain?"

6. Phil Hardy

Image: Buzzfeed

When your job is to run a corporate or professional Twitter account, it’s pretty easy to forget to log out of the work account and into your personal account before making witty quips and observations. Phil Hardy discovered this for himself after tweeting personal thoughts under Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador’s name. “Me likey Broke Girls,” he wrote, referring to the Kat Dennings comedy on CBS. The Tweet was only up for 14 seconds before Hardy realized his mistake, but the damage was done, and Labrador fired him.

7. Gene Morphis

Like many people, Gene Morphis took to social media to vent about his job. Unlike many people, Morphis was the CFO of Francesca’s Holdings Corp at the time, proving that even high ranking corporate officers aren’t immune to inadvisable Twitter rants. Morphis was fired after tweeting things such as “Cramming for earnings call like a final. I thought I had outgrown that...” and “Earnings released. Conference call completed. How do you like me now Mr. Shorty?"

8. Carly McKinney

Unless you’re a Kardashian, tweeting pictures of your scantily-clad self has the potential to be a career-ender. But 23-year-old former high school teacher Carly McKinney can top that: Not only did she tweet NSFW pictures of herself, she was often smoking pot in the photos. She also referred to one of her 10th-grade students as “jailbait” and admitted that she was high while grading papers. Though she claimed it was a parody account, McKinney was fired.

9. Gilbert Gottfried

Image: Huffington Post

Just in case you missed the whole uproar the first time around, Gilbert Gottfried made a series of insensitive jokes about the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Aflac certainly didn't find them funny—Gottfried provided the voice of the Aflac duck before the insurance company caught wind of his caustic comments, which is when they promptly fired him from the gig. "Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” said the company's chief marketing officer.

10. Catherine Deveny

Gilbert certainly isn't the first comedian to make a tasteless tweet and pay the price. Australian comedian Catherine Deveny let loose with a few offensive tweets in 2010, starting with Anzac Day in April, then moving on to unlikely target 12-year-old Bindi Irwin. "I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid," Deveny tweeted. She was fired from her job as columnist for The Age magazine two days later.

11. Grad Student "Cisco Fatty"

Cisco Fatty is one of the first incidents of tweeting-before-thinking resulting in a pink slip—in this instance, before the employee had even officially started. Upon getting a job offer, a grad student tweeted, "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Her heart probably dropped right out of her chest when she got this response: "Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web."

Thanks in part to others who were outraged at her lack of gratitude, her identity was discovered and the job offer was rescinded. Citizens of the Internet have since recounted the tale, referring to the sacked student as "Cisco Fatty."

12. Tweeter for Chrysler

Image: Vice

After a long and storied history of sordid tweets like "Good morning. How was everyone's weekend?" and "If you were rolling up to the red carpet, what Chrysler vehicle would you like to be stepping out of?", the official Chrysler account said, "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive." Turns out the guy who was tweeting for the company thought he was signed into his own account. 

13. A Los Angeles Waiter

I'm sure waitstaff in the L.A. area could tell all kinds of horror stories about the thoughtless celebrities they encounter, but perhaps it's best not to do it in such a public forum. When a waiter at Barney Greengrass was stiffed on a tip from actress Jane Adams, he complained about it via Twitter. She somehow came across it and returned to the restaurant a month later, bearing $3 and a printout of the tweet sullying her name. The waiter was fired.

14. Mike Bacsik

Mike Bacsik, a former MLB pitcher, was working for Dallas radio station The Ticket when he tweeted this comment about the San Antonio Spurs' win against the Mavericks: "Congrats to all the dirty Mexicans in San Antonio." Although he tweeted an apology for his racist remarks the next day—a tactic Gilbert Gottfried also tried—the damage was done and he was fired from The Ticket.

15. Octavia Nasr

Even CNN analysts make mistakes. Octavia Nasr was CNN's Senior Editor of Mideast affairs until this tweet in July 2010: "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." CNN fired her, concerned that the statement had compromised her credibility.

16. California Pizza Kitchen Employee

When one California Pizza Kitchen employee expressed his unhappiness with the chain's new uniforms—"@calpizzakitchen black button ups are the lamest s*** ever!!! #CaliporniaSkeetzaKitchen"—the company tracked him down and fired him. The thing is, he's a YouTube user with a pretty huge following, so you can guess what he did. Check out his video retort here.

This post originally appeared a few weeks ago, after this happened.

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10 Witty Facts About The Marx Brothers
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Talented as individuals and magnificent as a team, the Marx Brothers conquered every medium from the vaudeville stage to the silver screen. Today, we’re tipping our hats (and tooting our horns) to Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo—on the 50th anniversary of Groucho's passing.

1. A RUNAWAY MULE INSPIRED THEM TO TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.

Julius, Milton, and Arthur Marx originally aspired to be professional singers. In 1907, the boys joined a group called “The Three Nightingales.” Managed by their mother, Minnie, the ensemble performed covers of popular songs in theaters all over the country. As Nightingales, the brothers enjoyed some moderate success, but they might never have found their true calling if it weren’t for an unruly equid. During a 1907 gig at the Nacogdoches Opera House in East Texas, someone interrupted the performance by barging in and shouting “Mule’s loose!” Immediately, the crowd raced out to watch the newly-liberated animal. Back inside, Julius seethed. Furious at having lost the spotlight, he skewered his audience upon their return. “The jackass is the finest flower of Tex-ass!” he shouted, among many other ad-libbed jabs. Rather than boo, the patrons roared with laughter. Word of his wit soon spread and demand for these Marx brothers grew.

2. THEY RECEIVED THEIR STAGE NAMES DURING A POKER GAME.

In May of 1914, the five Marxes were playing cards with standup comedian Art Fisher. Inspired by a popular comic strip character known as “Sherlocko the Monk,” he decided that the boys could use some new nicknames. Leonard’s was a no-brainer. Given his girl-crazy, “chick-chasing” lifestyle, Fisher dubbed him “Chicko” (later, this was shortened to “Chico”). Arthur loved playing the harp and thus became “Harpo.” An affinity for soft gumshoes earned Milton the alias “Gummo.” Finally, Julius was both cynical and often seen wearing a “grouch bag”—wherein he’d store small objects like marbles and candy—around his neck. Thus, “Groucho” was born. For the record, nobody knows how Herbert Marx came to be known as “Zeppo.”

3. GROUCHO WORE HIS TRADEMARK GREASEPAINT MUSTACHE BECAUSE HE HATED MORE REALISTIC MODELS.

Michael Ochs Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Phony, glue-on facial hair can be a pain to remove and reapply, so Groucho would simply paint a ‘stache and some exaggerated eyebrows onto his face. However, the mustache he later rocked as the host of his famous quiz show You Bet Your Life was 100 percent real.

4. HARPO WAS A SELF-TAUGHT HARPIST.

Without any formal training (or the ability to read sheet music), the second-oldest Marx brother developed a unique style that he never stopped improving upon. “Dad really loved playing the harp, and he did it constantly,” his son, Bill Marx, wrote. “Maybe the first multi-tasker ever, he even had a harp in the bathroom so he could play when he sat on the toilet!”

5. THE VERY FIRST MARX BROTHERS MOVIE WAS NEVER RELEASED.

Financed by Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and a handful of other investors, Humor Risk was filmed in 1921. Accounts differ, but most scholars agree that the silent picture—which would have served as the family’s cinematic debut—never saw completion. Despite this, an early screening of the work-in-progress was reportedly held in the Bronx. When Humor Risk failed to impress there, production halted. By Marx Brothers standards, it would’ve been an unusual flick, with Harpo playing a heroic detective opposite a villainous Groucho character.

6. GUMMO AND ZEPPO BECAME TALENT AGENTS.

World War I forced Gummo to quit the stage. Following his return, the veteran decided that performing was no longer for him and instead started a raincoat business. Zeppo—the youngest brother—then assumed Gummo’s role as the troupe’s straight-talking foil. A brilliant businessman, Zeppo eventually break away to found the talent agency Zeppo Marx Inc., which grew into Hollywood’s third-largest, representing superstars like Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, and—of course—the other three Marx Brothers. Gummo, who joined the company in 1935, was charged with handling Groucho, Harpo, and Chico’s needs.

7. CHICO ONCE LAUNCHED A BIG BAND GROUP.

Chico took advantage of an extended break between Marx brothers movies to realize a lifelong dream. A few months before The Big Store hit cinemas in 1941, he co-founded the Chico Marx Orchestra: a swinging jazz band that lasted until July of 1943. Short-lived as the group was, however, it still managed to recruit some amazing talent—including singer/composer Mel Tormé, who would go on to help write the “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” in 1945.

8. THEY TESTED OUT NEW MATERIAL FOR A NIGHT AT THE OPERA IN FRONT OF LIVE AUDIENCES.

With the script still being drafted, MGM made the inspired choice to let the brothers perform key scenes in such places as Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. Once a given joke was made, the Marxes meticulously timed the ensuing laughter, which let them know exactly how much silence to leave after repeating the gag on film. According to Harpo, this had the added benefit of shortening A Night at the Opera’s production period. “We didn’t have to rehearse,” he explained. “[We just] got onto the set and let the cameras roll.”

9. GROUCHO TEMPORARILY HOSTED THE TONIGHT SHOW.

Jack Paar bid the job farewell on March 29, 1962. Months before their star’s departure, NBC offered Paar’s Tonight Show seat to Groucho, who had established himself as a razor-sharp, well-liked host during You Bet Your Life’s 14-year run. Though Marx turned the network down, he later served as a guest host for two weeks while Johnny Carson prepared to take over the gig. When Carson finally made his Tonight Show debut on October 1, it was Groucho who introduced him.

10. SPY MAGAZINE USED A MARX BROTHERS MOVIE TO PRANK U.S. CONGRESSMEN.

Duck Soup takes place in Freedonia, a fictional country over which the eccentric Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) presides. In 1993, 60 years after the movie’s release, this imaginary nation made headlines by embarrassing some real-life politicians. Staffers from Spy got in touch with around 20 freshmen in the House of Representatives, asking some variation on the question “Do you approve of what we’re doing to stop ethnic cleansing in Freedonia?” A few lawmakers took the bait. Representative Corrine Brown (D-Florida) professed to approve of America’s presence in Freedonia, saying “I think all of those situations are very, very sad, and I just think we need to take action to assist the people.” Across the aisle, Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) concurred. “Yeah,” he said, “it’s a different situation than the Middle East.”

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12 Facts About the Smithsonian's Collections
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With 19 museums spread along the East Coast, the Smithsonian Institution has become the country’s richest repository of American history. From culture to science, zoos to space exploration, the federally-backed archive has spent nearly 200 years preserving and educating. Check out some facts on its history, how a new species of dolphin was found hiding in its archives, and how the founder eventually became part of the collection.

1. ITS FOUNDER NEVER SET FOOT IN THE STATES.

Wealthy British globe-trotter James Smithson (1765-1829) had acquired an estate worth roughly $500,000 at the time of his death and ordered that all of his assets be inherited by his nephew, Henry James Dickinson. There was one twist: The estate was to be turned over to the United States in the event Dickinson died without an heir of his own so the country could build a hub for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Henry, then 18, died just six years later, and so President James Polk signed the act approving the Smithsonian Institution into law in 1846. Curiously, Smithson had never even visited the U.S. Why leave such a legacy to a foreign nation? Smithson never commented on his decision, leaving people to guess that it was either because he was impressed by democracy or because he wanted to enrich a country that, at the time, had only a few educational hubs.

2. NO ONE WAS REALLY SURE WHAT SMITHSON WANTED.

A portrait of James Smithson

“Increase and diffusion of knowledge” can be interpreted pretty broadly, and it took the United States a long time—roughly 10 years—before anyone could agree on what to do with Smithson’s gift. Educators, politicians, and civilians all had a unique notion of how to spend his fortune, including opening a university, a library, or an observatory. Ultimately, the Smithsonian Institution was a compromise, involving many of these ideas. By 1855, construction on the main building was complete at the National Mall in Washington; it was designated as a National Museum in 1858 [PDF].

3. THEY HAD TO HIDE THEIR COLLECTION FROM AXIS FORCES.

At the height of U.S. involvement in World War II, museum curators knew that Axis forces would have designs on destroying the vibrant culture housed at the museum’s main location at the National Mall. To protect these irreplaceable items, the Smithsonian arranged to have them shipped to an undisclosed location—now known to be near Luray, Virginia—and stored in a climate-controlled warehouse. They didn’t return until 1944.

4. SMOKEY BEAR LIVED AT THEIR ZOO.

Smokey Bear takes a bath at the National Zoo

Yes, that Smokey Bear. (And there’s no “the” in his name.) In 1950, a bear cub that survived a raging forest fire in Capitan, New Mexico, was adopted by the U.S. Forest Service and named Smokey after the popular ad campaign mascot of the era. As a living symbol of the effort, he spent his remaining 26 years at the National Zoo, a constant recipient of visitor attention and hundreds of jars of honey.

5. THEY DISPLAY JUST ONE PERCENT OF THEIR COLLECTION.

In order to execute Smithson’s mission statement, the Smithsonian has had to morph into the greatest display of hoarding the world has ever seen. All told, the Institution’s various artifacts, specimens, and other arcana is believed to number in the neighborhood of 137 million, with an official museum estimate of 154 million. Just 1 percent of that is available for viewing at any given time.

6. ONE CATEGORY IS USUALLY OFF-LIMITS FOR VIEWING.

17th century human remains found in Jamestown, Virginia

Evolving public attitudes over the decades have prompted the Smithsonian to be very wary of displaying human remains. While they’ve collected everything from shrunken heads to the “soap man”—a corpse whose body turned to a soap-like substance thanks to a chemical reaction to soil—most of it remains out of public view.

7. AN EXHIBIT ON NUCLEAR WAR STIRRED CONTROVERSY.

For a planned exhibit of the Enola Gay, the bomber plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II, museum organizers drew criticism in 1994 for presenting material that some veterans groups and members of Congress felt was politically charged. The museum agreed to omit text near the display that some felt dwelled on the horrific effects of the bomb, as well as references estimating the U.S. and rival casualties that might have been suffered if the bomb had not been deployed.

8. THE WEIRDEST ITEM THEY’VE CATALOGED IS A CRAPPY VIDEO GAME.

The box art for the Atari 2600 game E.T.

Amidst many internet lists of strange Smithsonian catalog items—taxidermied animals, beards, and other miscellanea—nothing seems more incongruous than the 2014 inclusion of a 1982 Atari video game based on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Renowned for being produced quickly and for helping to fuel the video game crash of the early 1980s, supplies of the cartridge were buried in a New Mexico landfill and only recently excavated. One went into the museum's archives.

9. THEY TURNED DOWN JIMMY DURANTE’S NOSE.

In the 1950s, actor and comedian Jimmy Durante was easily identified by his bulbous nose, a three-inch-long (from bridge to tip) feature that led to his nickname, “the Great Schnozzola.” Sensing a publicity opportunity, Durante’s management arranged for a makeup artist to create a plaster cast of Durante’s nose and offer it up to the Smithsonian as a piece of Americana. Frank Setzler, the museum’s head of anthropology was unimpressed. “Heavens, no,” he was quoted as saying. “Who would want that? The only place we could use it would be in the elephant display.”

10. AN UNDISCOVERED SPECIES OF DOLPHIN WAS LURKING IN THEIR INVENTORY.

A dolphin skull from a recently-discovered species

With so many specimens, the bowels of the Smithsonian almost certainly harbor secrets that can surprise even scientists. In 2016, two researchers in search of fossilized marine mammals stumbled across the skull of a 25-million-year-old river dolphin they named Arktocara yakataga. Said to have been found in Alaska, the dolphin may have dwelled in the Arctic. It was estimated that the skull—plucked from obscurity because one of the researchers found it “cute”—sat on the shelf for 50 years before being identified.

11. THEY’RE COMMITTED TO PRESERVING DOROTHY’S SLIPPERS.

Possibly the most iconic pair of footwear in pop culture, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz have become a Smithsonian trademark. In 2016, the Institution successfully raised over $300,000 on Kickstarter to build a state-of-the-art preservation case to protect the kicks from deterioration. While star Judy Garland wore several pairs during filming and the Smithsonian’s are mismatched, it’s clear that visitors want to keep them in condition for any future travels along the yellow brick road.

12. SMITHSON EVENTUALLY BECAME PART OF THE COLLECTION.

James Smithson's final resting place within the walls of the Smithsonian

In 1904, some 75 years after his death in Italy, Smithson’s remains were about to be disturbed. U.S. Smithsonian officials were alerted that his grave site would be displaced because of a nearby stone quarry expansion. The Institution took the opportunity to have his casket shipped to America so he could be interred at the site of his legacy—the Smithsonian itself. Escorted by Alexander Graham Bell, the casket traveled 14 days by sea. The body was entombed and topped off by a marker in the Smithsonian, where it remains viewable by the general public.

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