Brian is an actor, musician, writer, babysitter, and former Olympian. One of these things is a lie. Based in NYC, Brian honed his skills in the suburbs of Minneapolis, where he could often be seen doing jazz squares down the halls of his middle school. After obtaining a degree in musical theatre, he graced the stages of Minneapolis and St. Paul before making the move to NYC. In his spare time, Brian can be found playing board games, hitting around a volleyball, and forcing friends to improvise with him.
In the quest for internet fame, people often post first, think second.
But if you have the chance to call someone out for something they posted on social before it blows up in their face, do you have a responsibility to do so?
Redditor yer-mommy recently sparked some tension with their friend for failing to adequately warn her, so they turned to the subReddit "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) to see if they were in the wrong, asking:
"AITA for embarrassing my 'influencer' friend by intentionally letting her post a meme that made her look stupid?"
The original poster (OP) shared some details about their friendship with this "influencer".
"I feel kind of bad, but I have a friend who thinks of herself as a highly popular mom influencer (she's in her 40s), and she has a habit of taking other people's posts, memes, etc and reposting them as her own."
"She even steals personal, heartfelt words from other bloggers and Instagrammers about their struggles with body image, depression, etc and slightly changes them to repost as her own."
"She's grown a decent following from this and gets sponsored by brands for 'keeping it real.'"
"Honestly, I'll admit part of me is likely jealous, so I'll own that, but mostly I just think it's gross that she is lying and making up a whole personality that has people thinking she's something she's not."
But things quickly backfired when the OP sent their friend a popular meme.
"Anyway, there's this challenge going around on social media called the Hidden Cat Challenge, and I thought it would be funny to send her a photo of Monica's apartment from Friends and say, 'Bet you can't find the cat in this photo.'"
"I figured she'd recognize it and laugh, but within a few minutes, she had posted it on all of her social media telling people it was her latest Air B&B and making up an elaborate backstory about a random cat that lived there and challenging people to find it."
"I messaged her asking why she would lie, and she just said that she needed content and 'no one would ever know.'"
Since their concerns were so readily dismissed, the OP decided to just let the internet do its thing.
"So I just kept my mouth shut and sat back to see what would happen. Obviously people immediately began calling her out, and she tried to defend herself, but it wasn't long before she took it down and had to turn off comments on all her social accounts."
"She's now telling me I'm an AH for letting her post it, and I may have cost her sponsors and taken food out of her kids mouths. AITA?"
After their post started getting some attention, the OP added a bit more info as to what exactly went down.
"Just to clarify - I had no idea she was going to post it. The whole point was that the photo didn't even have a cat in it... It was a joke."
"She posted it with a whole fake story AND tried to make people find the non-existent cat in the photo, which added hugely to her embarrassment."
"After she got mad, I even tried to help by suggesting she simply tell people she accidentally posted the wrong photo or even say it was a joke, but she locked down her profiles, which obviously made her look bad."
"None of our friends blame me, but she is seriously upset and is refusing to speak to me. I never intended to make her look bad, but since she brushed me off when I first called her out, I figured I'd just let it play out."
"I guess that is why she thinks I'm the AH."
Redditors were then tasked with weighing in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
They didn't have much sympathy for the OP's friend.
"OMG. That is hilarious! Encourage her to re-open her accounts and post inspirational quotes on making a comeback by her therapist, Dr. Frasier Crane."
"NTA, if she's worried about losing money then perhaps she shouldn't have used deceit and dishonesty to earn her living in the first place."—fragmented_mask
"Wish I could upvote this right up! You reap what you sow and if you throw negativity out into the world that's what's coming back round to your sweet tush. NTA & hilarious."—WildSnow00
"NTA in any way."
"Lying has consequences. She outed herself; you even pointed out the mistake in posting it."—PretentiousUsername1
"With her stealing content from other creators it was a matter of time before this happened."—noblestromana
She's lucky that things didn't turn out worse. This time.
"Probably better that she simply embarrass herself. If she got caught stealing from another content creator, she probably would have had a whole sh*t storm coming her way in the form of that creator's followers."—purpleasphalt
"You didn't 'make her' post anything."
"You sent her an image you thought she would enjoy, and she took the time to fabricate a bad lie."
"And she's the one making it worse.. locking down her social media is the opposite of what she should have done."
"Double down and say it's a new challenge lol.. post Frazier's apartment with a similarly ridiculous story and say this is a commentary on stupid sm challenges."
"It doesn't need to be an effective campaign, just post a sunset with a bullsh*t quote on believing what you see or living in the moment and ppl will think you're continuing to keep it real by calling something out."
"There are still going to be ppl who see through this and call it bs but the diehards and stans will be in the comments rallying and the controversy will draw attention and subs."
"The fact that she can't be creative about this (because she only ever steals content) is exactly why she deserves to lose her platform."—Morri___
But the worst sin of all?
"I think she's an a**hole for not recognizing Monica's apartment, mostly. I didn't even watch the show and I know those d*mn purple walls."
"Especially given her age. That was one of the most iconic things from our generation's pop culture. It would be like a baby boomer not knowing The Beatles."—KatJen76
"As popular as the show is, she definitely should've known better. Honestly though I see this whole thing as karma finally giving her her due."
"She made a living stealing posts and making up false stories and clearly thought people were too stupid to figure it out.
Sorry, no one is dumb enough to believe Monica's apartment is your new AirBnB. 😂"—Cyclonic2500
Perhaps the OP's friend can use this whole ordeal as a learning experience, and perhaps take a break from social media to come up with a new content strategy.
And with that extra time, might we suggest binging some episodes of Friends? You know, for research.