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What to do about the social media shaming of figure skater Zhu Yi – CNN



Kara Alaimo, an associate professor in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University, is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion. She was spokesperson for international affairs in the Treasury Department during the Obama administration. Follow her on Twitter @karaalaimo. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion at CNN. This piece has been updated to reflect the latest news.

(CNN)Following her debut for Team China, California-born figure skater Zhu Yi is facing a torrent of criticism on social media after she fell on the ice while performing her short program in the figure skating team competition at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday.

The hashtag “Zhu Yi has fallen” was viewed more than 200 million times within hours on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, before apparently being censored. The comment “This is such a disgrace” quickly garnered 11,000 upvotes.
Kara  Alaimo

Kara  Alaimo

After missing a jump and crashing into a wall and then later missing another jump, Zhu already had to contend with personal embarrassment and the most devastating outcome possible for an Olympic performer: the lowest score of her event. It’s hard to imagine the feeling of failing so dramatically on the world stage.
Despite being forced to contend with such vitriol on social media, she bravely took the ice again on Monday for her long program, where she completed a number of difficult moves — but also fell again. Her team finished in fifth place.
I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Zhu’s worst critic right now is herself. Having to deal with being attacked on social media while suffering a massive disappointment must be excruciating for this athlete.
It may seem obvious to say that social media is the source of a lot of ills — but it’s also worth emphasizing in situations like this that these platforms empower all of us to intervene when a person is being cruelly attacked. And there’s a way we can all react to help rectify the problem: by “positive slamming” her.
Writer Sue Scheff, a parent advocate and internet safety expert, describes this technique in her book “Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate.” She writes, “Sometimes what begins as a shaming can flip, as supporters show you they have your back. This is called positive slamming.”
So today, let’s all take to social media and show our support for Zhu. We should give her credit for putting herself out there and trying her hardest to make her country proud, and for holding her head high on the Olympic ice. We should point out that no one is perfect, and every person has bad days.
And we should express our admiration for the fact that she excelled so phenomenally in her sport that she made it to the Olympics in the first place.
It’s especially important that we all help reverse the tide of social media shaming in cases like this when a person is being excoriated at least partly because of their identity. Zhu was born in the United States, but later gave up her American citizenship and chose to compete for China. “Please let her learn Chinese first, before she talks about patriotism,” one Weibo user posted on Sunday. So it seems these attacks online are about more than dashed hopes about figure skating.
It’s also easy to imagine that part of the reason Zhu is coming under such fire is because of her gender. Women around the globe are especially likely to be on the receiving end of online abuse. Almost 40% of women have been harassed online, according to a study of women in 51 countries by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Of course, publicly pillorying people who try their best but fall short of their goals isn’t just unacceptably cruel. It also serves as a disincentive for others to take the kinds of risks that are necessary if we want to see our countries succeed — at the Olympics and beyond.
Yet positive slamming can serve as a way of not just redressing wrongs when people come under unwarranted attack, but also changing social norms. In a case like that of Zhu, it can help redefine our society’s conceptions of success and failure. Resilience — or the ability to recover after a defeat — is a skill so valuable that it is linked to everything from better learning to improved health and lower death rates.
And, during a global pandemic when we’ve all been faced with unprecedented challenges in our lives, it’s a skill people need now more than ever.
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Positive slamming can also help correct other ugly aspects of our culture. For example, Scheff writes in her book about a Tennessee teenager who was fat shamed on social media after she posted a picture of herself in her prom dress in order to try to sell it to buy a new one. But then, other users responded by flooding her with positive comments and sending her $5,000 in donations — far beyond what she needed to buy a new dress.
Through positive affirmation like this, we as good Internet citizens can also help address the (sometimes disturbing) ways our society passes judgment on women’s bodies.
The heat Zhu is taking right now is not only mean and superfluous (of course she didn’t want to fail). It’s also misguided. If we want people to go for gold — in the world of sport, business, or elsewhere — we have to accept that they won’t win every time, and not shame them when they come up short. Today, we all can — and should — use our social media accounts to send this message loudly to Zhu, and to every other person in the world who is considering putting herself out there to strive for something great.

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Media Advisory: Ministers Stoodley and Davis to Attend Run for Women in Support of Stella's Circle – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador



On Sunday, June 26 the Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will attend the LOVE YOU’ by Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, in support of women’s mental health programs at Stella’s Circle.

The event is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Quidi Vidi Lake, 115 The Boulevard, St. John’s.

The Run for Women is held in 18 cities throughout Canada and focuses on Women’s Mental Health. Funds raised go to this year’s charity partner, Stella’s Circle, to specifically support programming at Naomi House and the Just Us Women’s Centre. The event also promotes physical movement as a means to creating better positive mental health outcomes.


Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466

2022 06 24
1:40 pm

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Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto



A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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S.Korean leader's informal media events are a break with tradition – SaltWire Halifax powered by The Chronicle Herald



By Soo-hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol has departed from years of tradition by holding informal daily media events to field questions on topics ranging from inflation and ties with neighbouring North Korea to the first lady and even boyband BTS.

Such wide-ranging access to the president was previously unheard of. It stems from Yoon’s decision to move his office out of the official Blue House, whose previous occupants largely steered clear of such interactions over more than seven decades.

“It’s apparently helping Yoon dispel worries about his lack of political experience and giving him a sense of where public opinion is at,” said Eom Kyeong-young, a political commentator based in the capital, Seoul.

Yoon, a former prosecutor-general, entered politics just a year ago, before winning the presidency in March by a margin of just 0.7%, the narrowest in South Korea’s history.

Upon his inauguration in May, Yoon moved the presidential office to the compound of South Korea’s defence ministry, describing the official residence as the symbol of an “imperial presidency”, and vowing not to “hide behind” his aides.

His liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, had rarely held news conferences, and almost always filtered his communication with the media, and the public, through layers of secretaries.

Analysts see Yoon’s daily freewheeling sessions as part of a broader communications strategy that lets him drive policy initiatives and present himself as a confident, approachable leader.

The campaign has also allayed public suspicions about the newcomer to politics, they say.

Polls show the new strategy helping to win support and much-needed political capital for Yoon in his effort to hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a parliament dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Although Yoon’s approval rating dipped to 47.6% in a recent survey, slightly lower than the disapproval figure of 47.9%, another June poll showed communication was the reason most frequently cited by those who favoured him.

“The sweeping victory of Yoon’s conservative party in June local elections shows the public is not so much against the new administration,” said Eom.

Incumbents from Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) defeated challengers for the posts of mayor in the two biggest cities of Seoul and the port city of Busan in that contest, while its candidates won five of seven parliamentary seats.

Eom attributed Yoon’s low approval rating from the beginning of his term to inflation risks that threaten to undermine an economic recovery and his lack of a support base as a new politician.

But some critics say Yoon’s sessions raise the chances that he could make mistakes.

“He could make one mistake a day,” Yun Kun-young of the opposition party wrote on Facebook last week, saying the new practice could be “the biggest risk factor” for the government.

The presidential office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yoon has already faced criticism for controversial remarks made during the morning briefings, such as one in defence of his nominee for education minister, who has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol years ago.

But the daily meetings and public reaction would ultimately help the government to shape policy better, said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul.

“It might be burdensome for his aides for now, but will be an advantage in the long term,” Shin said. “A slip of the tongue cannot be a bigger problem than a policy failure.”

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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