Jaime King has a stern warning for her fans: “Social media may be the downfall of all.” [sic]
The tweet -- which also includes a wish for a universal language and understanding -- came after a major misunderstanding on Instagram, leading the actress to apologize for a lengthy admonishment of one of her commenters.
Apparently, King was offended by a user who posted the phrase “hey ho” in her reaction to King’s Instagram of Fiji bottled water reminding pregnant women to stay hydrated.
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In the post, which has since been deleted, “Jessica” wrote:
“I'm sure the people of fiji would like fiji water too but unfortunately they can't have any because some big business decided that they now own the water in Fiji. But hey ho, keep paying top dollar for those bottles of water, as long as oppression isn't on your door step, am i right?"
Disturbed by the use of “ho,” the 35-year-old actress responded with a note -- captured by E! News -- about her own family’s oppression:
“Dear Jessica- an open letter to your open assault. Apparently, I am a ho. Oppression is not at my doorstep according to this you. (Ironically, I grew up with my father taking care of the tenements and section 8 housing, collecting quarters out of washing machines and cleaning broken toilets) there are many forms of oppression. Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and beyond. These things are immeasurable as they are relative to ones life experiences.”
And continued with a protest against the use of abusive and irresponsible language:
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“The reason why I am posting this is because I am disgusted by the language and online abuse that people think is a standard way of communicating. Take responsibility for your words. Let's call this instant karma. You don't know how I grew up, we didn't have fancy things and lots of money, you don't know how hard I had to work for everything I have. I applaud everyone that achieved their dreams. I don't degrade them when they are pregnant or not pregnant and putting good things in the world. You are not invisible to me. You do not mean nothing to me just because you are ignorant and rude. I care for you because I care that you are happy and clearly, you aren't. Take a look into your heart when you are ready. And maybe that won't be in this lifetime. But I will not accept that this will be the norm of how we speak to each other. Because I idealistically believe that we can and will have the capability to lift each other up as women. And not use words like HO to address one another.”
While King’s powerful response would have easily shut down any Internet bully, it turned out that she misinterpreted Jessica’s use of the word. As it turns out, “hey ho,” according to the BBC, is common British idiom that is the “verbal equivalent of a shrug.”
This realization (and embarrassment) led to King to tweet her warning about social media, where a lot of colloquial vernacular often doesn’t translate.
Consider this a learning lesson for all of us.