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Man sacked for 'accosting' Chris Whitty paid 'high price', says social media analyst
1 July 2021, 17:43
There's a "high price" for anyone who behaves badly online says Social Media Analyst Alex Krasodomski-Jones, after the man who was filmed harassing Chris Whitty was sacked.
Lewis Hughes, 24, has apologised for "any upset I caused", adding if he made England's chief medical officer feel "uncomfortable" then "I am sorry to him for that".
Tom Swarbrick began by asking Mr Krasodomski-Jones: "These kind of incidents that we're seeing more and more, where it's filmed on social media, it's put out there, there's a massive response that has real world consequences for these individuals, how much of a danger is there that the consequences outweigh the initial sin?"
Mr Krasodomski-Jones replied: "A really great one. This is something that's been going on for years and years. Somebody will make an inappropriate joke or something and they'll end up paying a very high price for that.
"That said, this is the same social media that in the instance of George Floyd being murdered by a police officer, they were able to capture that and bring him to justice.
"I think we just have to come to terms now with the fact that a lot of what we do is potentially being caught on camera by other people. In this case, they managed to catch themselves out on camera, so I have a little less sympathy for that."
Tom then asked: "Do you see that as we come to terms with the idea that we're going to be on camera a lot more, and the possibility of spreading around the internet like wildfire exists for everybody, that it means the behaviour that is exhibited by most people is changed?"
"I think it will have to be, and I think we will have to think as a society what our standards are going forward," Mr Krasodomski-Jones said.
"When it comes to the ballot box, in ten years time when there's a new generation of politicians coming through - look - everyone's done something stupid, posted something stupid, said something stupid when they were younger or after a few pints.
"Are we going to go through the digital bins and dig up everything they've formerly said? And when we do that ... are we willing to still accept them, potentially they've moved on, changed, got better.
"It's going to turn into which politician can scrub their digital history from the internet."
It is not the first time Prof Whitty, who has taken a central role in decision making and communications in the Government's response to the pandemic has faced public harassment.
Earlier this month, he was confronted in a street in Oxford by a man accusing him of lying to the public about coronavirus, while in February a man accosted the chief medical officer outside Westminster.