The Biggest Facepalm Moments of 2017
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
We’ve all been there -- the moment where your palm hits your face with regret. But once it’s done, it’s done and the damage could be hard to repair.
Easily one of the biggest facepalms of the year occurred at the Oscars, when the wrong movie was announced for Best Picture. American Airlines experienced a temporary computer glitch that allowed too many pilots to schedule vacation time over the holidays. Or there's Zara advertising its new denim for “curvy” women using rail-thin models.
Related: Biggest Social Media Fails of 2017
Sure, these things happen, and they will continue to, but is it too much to ask to try a little harder? Check out some of 2017’s most memorable facepalm moments.
A Twitter contractor "accidentally" disabled President Donald Trump's account.
For 11 minutes in early November, the Twitter account of President Donald Trump was deactivated. Twitter took this development well.
Just gonna say it, the employee at Twitter who shut off Trump's account for 11 mins could become a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) November 3, 2017
After the deactivation, stories circulated that a rogue Twitter employee on his last day deactivated the account. That was only partially true.
Rather, the former employee, Bahtiyar Duysak, had been assigned to customer support at the micro-blogging site. He told Techcrunch that on his last day, Trump was reported. And "as a final, throwaway gesture, he put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Then he closed his computer and left the building."
But he never thought Trump's account would be deactivated, saying the whole thing was a "mistake."
Wish.com product images lead to social media furor
Ecommerce site Wish probably wishes that it had given these product images a bit more thought before putting them out in the world.
To sell its plus size tights, which are fairly well-reviewed on the website, the company opted to show just how comfortable they were by showing a fairly slim model essentially just pulling them up around her entire body. If Wish were going for inclusive and body-positive, it seems that it fell a little wide the mark.
And the people who took to social media to call out the company were pretty merciless.
Bad day for Wish, who thought it was a good idea to promote plus-size tights using thin models putting their entire bodies in them to show how massive they are https://t.co/p8NijgiNcJ-- Deborah Arthurs ed (@deboraharthurs) December 7, 2017
We all know by now that Wish is garbage, right? The shorts, the leggings, the tights. Either flatlay your products, or hire plus size models! https://t.co/5v1CwwTl9Z-- Interrobang Art (@Interrobang_Art) December 11, 2017
The photos are actually from an advertisement for "magic tights" to show that the tights won't tear no matter how much you stretch them. Wish just stole the pics and used them to advertise plus size-- ALLIE GARDNER (@alliejoelle1) December 10, 2017
American Airlines gives too many pilots vacation time over the holidays.
A temporary computer glitch allowed thousands of American Airlines staffers to schedule time off during the last two weeks of December, leaving many scheduled flights without pilots.
As of Nov. 30, more than 15,000 American Airlines flights scheduled from Dec. 17 to Dec. 31 still did not have a pilot, first officer or both, and the company was scrambling to get employees scheduled to work and avoid flight cancellations.
"We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate -- as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract," the airline said in a statement to PCMag.
We’re thankful for our incredible #AATeam stepping up to the plate and picking up trips. We will continue to work to ensure our pilots & customers are cared for during the holiday season. https://t.co/xgzLi0BMES— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) November 30, 2017
The Allied Pilots Association (APA) union, however, wasn’t so sure about this solution.
"Because management unilaterally created their solution in violation of the contract, neither APA nor the contract can guarantee the promised payment of the premium being offered," the APA said in a statement.
Kendall and Kylie Jenner introduce copycat clothing line, then pull it.
When Jenner sisters Kendall and Kylie introduced a vintage T-shirt collection in June, the backlash was swift. The Kendall + Kylie One of One shirts featured the faces of late rapper Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur as well as album artwork from Metallica and Pink Floyd, but this being the Kardashians/Jenners, the sisters faces and Instagram posts were imposed on the shirts. To top it off, the tops retailed for $125.
#kendalljenner #kyliejenner #kendall #kylie #jenner #celebrity #celebritystyle #chic #fab #pretty #cute #hair #makeup #beautiful #love #fashion #style #kendallandkylie #sisters #vintage #supermodel #tvpersonality #socialite #entrepreneur #kardashian #travisscott #asaprocky @kendalljenner @kyliejenner
A post shared by amazing (@amazinggoodstuff) on Jun 29, 2017 at 10:48am PDT
"These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists. We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in any way. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed. We will use this as an opportunity to learn from these mistakes and again, we are very sorry," the Jenners wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Skin clinic uses Resident Evil’s umbrella as its company logo.
Resident Evil and skin care couldn’t be more opposite. However, the Medcare Skin Centre in Ho Chi Minh City managed to make a connection.
The skin clinic recently unveiled its new logo, which looks almost the same as the umbrella in Resident Evil. Although it wasn’t on purpose -- the clinic wrote on its Facebook page that it was “very surprised by this coincidence.”
Here’s a billboard advertisement of the company and its new logo:
A post shared by Geek Culture (@geek_culture) on Jun 4, 2017 at 7:03am PDT
Airbnb’s creates and pulls insensitive “teepee” ad.
On May 30, Airbnb angered people after it launched an ad on its social media channels that many considered racially insensitive to Native American culture.
The post advertised a listing in Joshua Tree, Calif., for an “off-the-grid teepee” in “true Sioux style.” While Joshua Tree is nowhere near any Sioux territory, the incident also comes shortly after the protests at Standing Rock.
"Airbnb is profiting off of racist stereotypes and that is unacceptable in a democratic society,", director of the Native Organizers Alliance and a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma Judith Le Blanc told BuzzFeed.
Other scholars and critics took to social media to share their disappointment and disgust with the campaign.
Folks want to be us with the "comforts of a master bedroom" but don't want to deal with the actual consequences of being Native.— Dr. Adrienne Keene (@NativeApprops) May 29, 2017
Companies only show parts of Indigenous life when there's $ to be made by appealing to a certain demographic? What, no Inipi too @Airbnb?— Christy (@Chronic_Christy) May 29, 2017
Shortly after the public backlash, Airbnb pulled the ad and apologized for the campaign. "We should not have used this language and we want to apologize to everyone for our poor judgement," an Airbnb spokesperson said in an email. "We have deleted these posts."
Google shares the most misspelled words in the country, then misspells a word.
In honor of Scripps National Spelling Bee in the U.S., Google released a map of the most misspelled words by state. The search engine discovered these words by finding out which words come up the most when people typed in “How to spell…”
While the words were somewhat disheartening -- with “Wisconsin” being Wisconsin’s most misspelled word, and the words liar, angel, sense and nanny also making the list -- it turned out, we’re not the only ones who struggle with spelling.
When Google initially released the state-by-state spelling breakdown -- it too had a spelling error. The word “tomorrow” was found to be the most misspelled in Arizona and Colorado. However, when Google put this on its map, one spelling of tomorrow had fewer letters than the other. It has since replaced the incorrect map.
We've made a few corrections to the legend. This is the one to use pic.twitter.com/0Z8fUlzmHc— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) May 30, 2017
Interesting how "tomorrow" has eight letters in Arizona and eleven letters in Colorado— ???? (@petecasellini) May 30, 2017
Bar launches and removes “Pill Cosby” drink from menu.
A new Washington, D.C., cocktail bar called Diet Starts Monday unveiled a new drink called the Pill Cosby. After causing a commotion on Twitter, the cocktail -- a hibiscus drink topped with empty pills -- has since been removed from the menu. The bar’s owners, John Geiger and Davin Gentry, told the Washingtonian the drink was meant increase awareness of the dangers of date rape in bars. However, most people just found it distasteful and insensitive.
@dietstartsmon__ The "Pill Cosby" drink is NOT funny. Rape is NOT a joke, especially at a bar.— Kimya Forouzan (@kimyaf) May 22, 2017
The bar publicly responded to people’s disapproval on Twitter.
The drink has since been removed from the menu and we apologize to anyone who felt offended by this.— Diet Starts Monday (@dietstartsmon__) May 22, 2017
This drink was not made with any intent to offend anyone, especially not victims of rape. We take full responsibility.— Diet Starts Monday (@dietstartsmon__) May 22, 2017
Dove releases body wash bottles to match the shape of women’s bodies.
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which has been running for more than a decade, brings to light the importance of self-love and acceptance. From commercials to posters, the company portrays its message in typical advertising forms -- however, its most recent advertising efforts are steered toward its packaging.
The new campaign, called “Celebrate the Many Shapes and Sizes of Beauty,” has released limited-edition body wash bottles to match the shape of women’s bodies. The bottles come in six different sizes, from curvy and tall to petite and slim.
However, people aren’t quite catching on to it. They do think it’s pretty funny though, comparing Dove's efforts to syrup bottles and cartoon characters.
thanks Dove but I already have a body wash that matches my natural curves :) pic.twitter.com/IIkKAn0LjQ— Tim Federle (@TimFederle) May 8, 2017
thanks dove but i already found a bottle for my shape pic.twitter.com/asuo1vci0O— Carina Hsieh (@carinahsieh) May 8, 2017
Adidas congratulates runners who “survived” the Boston Marathon.
As a brand, it’s important to double, triple and even quadruple check any content that you’re putting out. Especially if you’re a big brand such as Adidas.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened with a recent Adidas message. After the Boston Marathon, the company sent out an email to many of the runners who participated. But rather than congratulating them for finishing the 26-mile race, the company decided to applaud them for “surviving” the race. The subject line of the email read: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”
Had this been any other sporting event, responses may have been different. But in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, people were not happy.
The company publicly apologized for its “insensitive” email.
The Chainsmokers misspell “Pittsburgh” in a concert sign.
Misspelling a word is easy -- and it’s the reason why we have spell check. Unfortunately, stage designers for a Chainsmokers concert didn’t do their due diligence.
During a sold-out show in Pittsburgh, the musical duo ended the show with a banner behind them that read “Pittsburg.” The musicians later apologized in a tweet for the spelling error, but have since deleted the post and any evidence of the mistake.
Of course, thanks to the internet -- nothing is really ever gone forever.
1 easy way to make Pittsburgh hate the Chainsmokers, forever. pic.twitter.com/WMxFejBc2l— Ashley (@shDell18) April 23, 2017
Nivea ad campaign says “White is purity.”
During a time of political discord in the U.S., with fake news and a rise in white extremist groups, you’d think brands would be especially cautious about the content they put on the internet.
Of course, some still don’t. Skin care company Nivea launched an ad campaign with the slogan “White is purity” -- and people were, unsurprisingly, not happy. In an attempt to promote its Invisible for Black and White deodorant, the ad was posted on Nivea’s Middle East Facebook page and showed an image of a woman with dark hair, dressed in white and sitting in a brightly lit room, with the words “White is purity” written over the picture.
The post stirred quite the commotion online, as people expressed their anger and disappointment over the ad, calling Nivea “racist” and “insensitive.” And to make matters worse, many right wing groups shared the spot.
The company pulled the ad and publicly apologized: “We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea.”
The Oscars Best Picture mix up.
This early flop might be the most memorable of the year. But it wasn’t just that the entire cast of La La Land went onstage to accept Moonlight’s Best Picture award, but everything else around the debacle.
When Warren Beatty opened the envelope, paused and handed it off to Faye Dunaway, who without hesitation announced La La Land, we knew something was up. But the cameras kept rolling, the cast came onstage and the film director and executives began their acceptance speeches.
From the viewer’s standpoint, there’s clear confusion in the background as an Oscars employee gathers the red envelopes and on stage it's revealed that Moonlight is the true winner of Best Picture.
“There’s a mistake. Moonlight won Best Picture,” La La Land’s producer Jordan Horowitz said. “This is not a joke.”
Turns out, Beatty was given the wrong envelope -- which read “Emma Stone” for “Best Actress” -- because the Price Waterhouse Cooper accountant responsible for handing out the correct envelopes was too busy tweeting backstage. Still, this whole kerfuffle could have been avoided had it not been for several little mistakes.
Zara uses skinny models for a “curvy” campaign.
Sure, advertising is known for exaggerating the truth, but Zara’s “curvy” campaign didn’t so much exaggerate as it did confuse.
Debuting its new denim line for “curvy” women, the brand’s ad features two thin models standing side by side and looking back at the camera with the copy reading “Love Your Curves.” While the new line was supposed to be inclusive of all body types, people were upset with the advertising and its inherent irony.
You have got to be shitting me, Zara. pic.twitter.com/tiOsJv5AVy— Muireann O'Connell (@MuireannO_C) February 28, 2017
I assume Zara is doing irony. pic.twitter.com/8BAomw5Yy8— Just John (@emptyjamjar) February 28, 2017
A Gorillaz tech set his password to “2017.”
With all of the hacks today, you’d think people would be pretty cautious about their passwords. Unfortunately, that’s still not the case.
Before its official release, fans found a way to break into a Vimeo account related to the band “Gorillaz” and leak some of its new songs.
After a few song titles emerged online, registered with Phonographic Performance Ltd., Reddit users began Googling titles. One Reddit user, omegapro200, discovered the leaked track “Saturnz Barz” on the private Vimeo page of Gorillaz lighting technician Dylan Byrne. Another Reddit user, mrmoosechill, attempted to get into the Vimeo account, trying out different passwords and ultimately hitting the jackpot when he guessed “2017.”
Can we really call this hacking when the password was so easy to guess?
Wheel of Fortune contestant guesses the wrong letter.
We've seen plenty of disastrous fails on game shows such as Wheel of Fortune -- but this one might top the list.
On a March episode of Wheel of Fortune, a contestant was one letter away from victory. When guessing the last letter of Tennessee Williams's famous Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire, the contestant guessed "K" instead of "M" in the word "NA_ED."
OMG this just Happened. ??? pic.twitter.com/Q0CYxM8jJB-- ?Mike? (@MBragiel) March 21, 2017
The stupid mistake shook up the social media world, many viewers taking to Twitter to express their reactions to the contestant's facepalm moment.
Dude on Wheel of Fortune had to solve this:-- David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) March 21, 2017
A STREETCAR NA_ED DESIRE
He asked for a K.
I'm gonna go lie down.
A guy missed this on Wheel of Fortune: A Streetcar Na_ed Desire. He said it was A Streetcar Naked Desire pic.twitter.com/0MI8D4OSlY-- Yankee Man (@MyBoyJeter) March 22, 2017
Ads run congratulating Republican leaders on now-aborted healthcare plan.
Some Republicans were a little too confident in their new healthcare reform bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act. In fact, one group got its commercials bragging about its passage ready to go.
Yet to their surprise, the bill did not pass ... but the commercials aired. During March Madness games Friday night, viewers were exposed to a spot celebrating the would-be reform.
Led by the right-leaning American Action Network, the ads thanked some of the political figures involved in the failed healthcare plan for their "promise and replacing the Affordable Care Act with a better health care you deserve."
Jewelry company puts up billboard that read, “It’s OK to throw rocks at girls.”
This Asheville, N.C.-based jewelry store took puns a little too far.
On a billboard off highway I-240 near downtown Asheville, Spicer Greene Jewelers paid for a billboard which featured gems in a variety of colors. Sounds nice, right? Read on.
Over the image is text that reads: "Sometimes, it's OK to throw rocks at girls..."
The billboard caused upset in the town, as well as backlash on social media.
In response, the company apologized for its poor advertising choices on its Facebook page.
Spicer Greene Jewelers says it plans to change the billboard soon with another campaign, and has also vowed to donate 10 percent of its sales from the week of the incident to a local domestic violence shelter, it told local news network WLOS.