Social Media Shaming


Last week a Toronto man refused to move his bag off a second seat on a crowded rush hour bus. When pressed by the woman requesting the seat, he apparently lashed out, stomping on her foot and pushing her backwards. He was also caught on tape calling her names and giving her the finger. The story went viral and he quickly acquired the nickname #TTCLeprechaun, mainly due to his bright green shirt and bowler hat.

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Unless this man paid an extra fare for his bag, he had no right to take up 2 seats. Not only is this common courtesy, it is against TTC rules.


“3.34 A proper authority may refuse passage on the transit system to:

c) a person carrying hand luggage, a parcel or any object or thing that does inconvenience or is likely to inconvenience other passengers or TTC employees”


The TTC claims that it can not find the footage of the alleged assault, meaning this man can not easily be charged.

This is where social media takes over. In the past week not only has traditional media covered the story, it’s been all over Facebook and Twitter. There are currently two mock twitter accounts and the community is attempting to identify the rude passenger.

Is there such a thing as too much social media shaming? Majority of the twitterverse seems to say “no,” and I’m inclined to agree with them.

I can understand why someone wouldn’t want their bad behaviour posted online, but when did we start to demand total privacy in public? Public shaming has existed for decades, but with the expansion of social media, it’s now able to span the world instead of just within one community. Like anything this can be used negatively, but it also has many positive aspects. I don’t think someone should lose their job or have their life torn apart for one online mistake, but we can’t expect that our actions will not have consequences. We all have to live in this world together and there are certain societal rules that make things run smoothly. If these conventions didn’t exist and everyone just did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, everyone would be less happy. So when someone so blatently disregaurds those unspoken rules why should we let it pass?

In time this story will fade into the background and the rude ttc passenger will once again become annonymous; however, perhaps he will think twice before being an dick in public again.

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