I didn’t watch the Miss Universe Pageant this past weekend. Like most everyone, however, I couldn’t help but hear what happened at the end. Yes, Steve Harvey, the very popular television personality who was hosting the event mistakenly announced the wrong person as the winner.
Obviously, while not a tragedy in the true sense of the word, it’s still a highly embarrassing and…well, just a really unfortunate thing to have happened.
Being who he is, Mr. Harvey took full responsibility and apologized. (See this excellent article by my friend, Barbara Abramson.)
And, there’s no question that he felt (and still feels) absolutely sick about it!
Twitter Insults Afire!
While there were some encouraging tweets, basically, the Twitterverse and all social media lighted up with insults and other Steve Harvey-based negative memes.
What’s disappointing is that most of these people are generally charitable, kind, and would most likely come to the aid of anyone they believed to be in need. However, they eagerly participated in the Steve Harvey pile-on, laughing at the misfortune of others.
All it really takes is a bit of thought to understand why it’s inappropriate. No, make that a bit of feeling. A bit of putting oneself in another’s place.
We seem to have lost some of that empathy of late.
Now, of course, Steve Harvey will most likely not know of any one individual’s tweet, laughter, or derision.
However, There Are Many Others
Let’s take this situation and bring it closer to home. When someone we know makes a horrible mistake at work, or says something that embarrasses him or her in the eyes of others, or commits some kind of social faux pas, what do we do?
Do we laugh (out loud or even to ourselves)? Or, do we feel badly for them? Do we stand up for them publicly or — if that’s not appropriate or possible — take them aside and at least encourage them?
Do we teach our children to FEEL for those at school who are bullied or made fun of?
Do we keep from unnecessarily shaming a person? Do we teach our children the importance of same?
These are simply human questions.
Let’s all realize that when someone makes a mistake, the chances are they already feel ashamed. Let’s not shame them further. And, yes…let’s even empathize with them.
It’s part of being human. Just like Steve Harvey.
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I did stand up for Steve to a couple of men. I was shocked a bit in the words i saw posted about him. We need so many more people to just be kinder to each other.
Kathleen, thank you for your feedback and for being a part of life’s solutions rather than problems!
Great questions and post! I felt like the worst part of the whole thing is that Ms Columbia learned of the mistake when everyone did. I felt like someone should have approached her and shared the news with her first. My heart went out to her, and based on everything I’ve heard, she handled it very well!
Thank you, Steve. Yes, felt very badly for her. And, as you said, she reportedly handled it very well, and with a lot of class. Especially at such a young age and with so much associated pressure involved. I’m hoping this will be a big win for her in the additional opportunities that this will provide for her
Well said, Bob. While I hope that someone with as great a sense of humor as Steve Harvey has the ability to laugh at himself and the situation, I think you’re right. As a professional, I’m sure this is one of the darker moments of his career. All too often, we forget that figures in the entertainment and news world are human beings too. As a culture, our political discourse seems to have gotten far more course over the past couple of decades, and unfortunately, this seems to have spilled over into other aspects of our society, like this one.
Ellis, thank you for your thoughtful feedback. Excellent points. I agree with you all the way!
There is an interesting article on The Guardian website (http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/dec/20/social-media-twitter-online-shame) written by Jon Ronson who has done quite a bit of research on public shaming especially on Twitter. There is also a TED talk and it seems he has written a book as well.
The upshot is that Twitter, among other social media platforms, are ideal public shaming platforms and that people don’t understand the consequences of their online bullying.
Steve Harvey can probably take it. He’ll land on his feet and be fine. Other people…not so much. It’s really amazing how people will feel free to act one way on Twitter or other social media and another way face-to-face. Empathy is certainly part of it. Civility and even a small does of humility can help, too.
Hi Ken, Thank you. And, I’ll look forward to reading Mr. Ronson’s article. Yes, unfortunately, Twitter and other social media platforms do make shaming (including hit-and-run shaming) much easier and more available. Great point you make about civility and humility, as well.
I guess when you’re famous and rich, being human no longer exist. Steve Harvey, thank you for showing the World you are Human. What has happened to the Love And Understanding of People? We are living in a Twilight Zone and the funniest thing, I DO NOT have any idea when it changed. All I know is that I woke up and this WORLD OF PEOPLE WAS DEHUMANIZED!!!!!
Carleen, thank you for sharing with us. Lots of spot-on points! Of course, shaming has become all-too-popular whether done to a celebrity or to anyone else. It will only stop through a massive amount of people no longer participating. Welcoming any ideas that anyone has that can help make shaming “uncool!” Thanks again!
There’s an article written by an Intern of Mullen (ad agency) Don’t Blame Steve Harvey. Blame Bad Design. http://bit.ly/22o3cFJ. Although written by an intern, he makes a very good point. It’s sad how people won’t stop publicly shaming him.
Thess, thank you for your comment. And, I appreciate you including a link to the article by the ad agency intern. I look forward to reading it!
Thank you Bob for a great article on this subject. We can hope that this publicity will in the end prosper both contestants and Steve Harvey.
Bob! I can always count on you to shine a bright light and lead the way. Thank you. I saw headlines and posts about this mishap, and I did not read any of it as it all seemed to be over the top … kind of like so much of what is happening in the political arena and the refugee arena. There is such a need for kindness, compassion, empathy, and love. Thank you for always coming from that place. You are my hero!
Zita, I appreciate you saying that. And, I can always count on YOU for your always kind and thoughtful feedback! Appreciate ya’! 🙂
Thank you Beth. Appreciate your kind feedback and thoughts!
Well said, Bob. I posted a fun meme about it (see it on Facebook) – and my guess is that if anybody on the planet would say “Have fun with the situation” – it would be Steve Harvey. Comedy is often based on taking something scary or unfortunate and turning it on its head to create laughter. I haven’t seen the mean-spirited posts that some of the people here are referring to, nor did I see ANY mean-spirited news stories. I saw news that reported what happened (is there something wrong with that?) I saw stories that reported Harvey’s complete ownership of what happened (much to his credit). And I’ve seen a LOT of Harvey’s fellow comedians having fun with it (they are COMEDIANS! It’s what they do – it’s what Harvey does). I honestly think that people are over-reacting to the simple recounting of the facts of what happened. My guess is that Harvey would say everyone should lighten up and have fun with it. Watch Family Feud sometime, and see how Harvey handles something ridiculous that a contestant says – he has FUN with it!!! He makes fun of the mishap – because he – is – a – comedian. Everybody cheer up – give it a little time and you’ll see someone making more fun of this situation than anyone has – and that someone will be Steve Harvey. At NSA a few years back – Les Brown, in a keynote speech, mistakenly kept referring to Cavett Robert as “Dick Cavett” – an hugely embarrassing mistake. And all of his friends immediately jumped on it with absolute glee. The next year, Les was back on stage, and the first thing he did was make fun of his own mistake. That’s the great blessing of humor – it eases the pain for everyone. We all mess up – find the fun!
Hi Joe, thank you for contributing your always-wise and well thought-out words. About 99.999 percent of the time (if not more) 🙂 I agree with you. In this case, I saw something a bit different. From all accounts, Steve was extremely distraught. As I mentioned near the beginning of my post, this was certainly not a tragedy in the true sense of the word. However, relatively speaking and based on the circumstances (and the importance to the contestants who devote their lives to this) it was extremely unfortunate. I can only imagine how he must have felt. And, I saw quite a few people (online mostly, but on some traditional media sources, as well) not only reporting it and not just poking fun at him but saying some very cruel things. Indeed, eventually it will become something he can joke about and turn into a positive. For now, I’d much rather see people give him support rather than make fun of. I totally agree with you about it being reported. No, of course, nothing wrong with that. That’s their job. I just don’t see where something like this is funny though. It was not funny for anyone involved; Steve, the contestants, the producers of the event, the many people who work countless hours for this to come off correctly and show off the best side. I also believe that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media have (despite all the many positives the provide) fostered an environment of nastiness, bullying, and, at times, even reputation-ruining. I think that’s the bigger picture I’m driving at through this post. Of course, any blog post is in many ways simply an opinion piece and this is mine. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for your hugely valued friendship!
I think that the people who rejoiced with what happened to Steve are revealing more about themselves than about Steve’s mistake.
They bought the idea that the one who does less mistakes, is the one who will prosper. What a shame.
They bought the idea that for them to feel significant, other people need to do worse than them. What a shame.
Little do they know that these 2 ideas alone will be responsible for a lot of their own struggles. So they take opportunities like these to comfort themselves on the fact that they would never be able to make that mistake and live with it. That’s also the reason why they won’t achieve anything worthwhile in their lives.
Anybody who achieved something remarkable had to go through the same journey. First people ignore them. Then they make fun of them. Then they criticize them. Then they hate them! And then, finally, they start to admire them and become raving fans.
Now, being able to laugh about ourselves is also important. To laugh about when we mess things up and be willing to get back into the arena and keep on going anyway!
Meanwhile, Steve just landed another deal at being a presenter of Miss Universe for multiple years. http://www.etonline.com/news/178599_inside_steve_harvey_massive_multi_year_deal_to_host_miss_universe/
Finally, I believe that this quote from T. Roosevelt is very fitting to this:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Thank you Bob for calling our attention to this.
Terrific post as is your norm.
The studies on the motivation(s) behind the gleeful celebration of the mistakes of someone of great accomplishment are legion, and it appears the unfortunate incident at the pageant validate those studies.
But just as the media tends to highlight negative news (because of the endless ratings races), I. perhaps naively, believe there are countless souls out here like myself who celebrate Steve Harvey being able to own the responsibility for the gaffe, and to genuinely show the distress he felt for the others affected more than his own embarrassment.
For me, it just further humanized and made an already incredibly likable guy even moreso.
Methinks I will continue to model the Steve Harveys and Bob Burgs of the world…..
Bruno, thank you. Greatly appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us!
Thank you, Phil. Indeed, Steve showed his true character and class, and I know there are many who so greatly admire him for that! And, regarding your last sentence, what a coincidence…I’m trying to model the Steve Harveys and Phil Brakefields! 🙂
On no – now someone else is making fun of Steve Harvey. Yesterday on Facebook, Harvey posted a photo of himself, grinning with a big cigar in his mouth, with the caption, “Merry Easter, ya’ll.” It’s gotten over 2 million “likes.” As I said in my original comment here, “He makes fun of the mishap – because he – is – a – comedian. Everybody cheer up – give it a little time and you’ll see someone making more fun of this situation than anyone has – and that someone will be Steve Harvey. That’s the great blessing of humor – it eases the pain for everyone. We all mess up – find the fun!” If anyone thinks it’s wrong to bring lightness to a situation like this – take it up with Steve Harvey!! God Bless comedians for teaching us to laugh in the midst of pain. Hope everyone had a great Christmas!! Bob – keep doing what you do in 2016 – you, more than anyone I know, bring light to this world, and heaven knows we need it.