Today In How Not To Tweet: Using Mandela’s Death To Plug A Movie

No need to write a eulogy for the man. Everything you need to know about Mandela can  be found at your local art-house cinema.

No need to write a eulogy for the man. Everything you need to know about Mandela can be found at your local art-house cinema.

South African freedom fighter and that country’s first black president Nelson Mandela passed away today at the age of 95. What better way to pay tribute to the man than by shilling for the newly released movie about his life?

That seems to be the addlepated thought behind this Tweet from entertainment biz scribe Nikki Finke.

“R.I.P Nelson Mandela, subject of Weinstein Co’s Idris Elba-starrer ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ which opened Nov 29 and has awards buzz,” reads the Tweet, which instantly drew a massive backlash from a number of Finke’s more than 200,000 followers.

Rather than pull the Tweet or issue an apology, Finke just continues to dig in her heels with follow-ups like this one, which reads, “I write about the entertainment biz. And that movie is a wonderful tribute to Nelson Mandela since it’s based on his autobiography.”

We get that Finke writes about the movie industry, so it isn’t completely inappropriate to mention the movie. But what really seems to poke people the wrong way is her inclusion of things like the release date, its supposed “awards buzz,” and — in what comes across like a blatant advertisement for the movie and its award campaign — the name dropping of The Weinstein Company, followed by a Tweet about Mandela with a quote straight from Harvey Weinstein himself… because in this time of remembering one of the most prominent political and cultural figures in modern history, the person with the most important opinion of Mandela is a Hollywood movie producer.

Perhaps Finke is taking the old “no such thing as bad publicity” line with this obvious attempt to curry favor from a potential advertiser, what with her new website set to launch in the not so distant future.

At least she didn’t try selling copies of the DVD

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  1. Pacer says:

    This is classic Nikki Finke and predictable.

  2. Xenotaku says:

    This one… I actually can’t get upset with. Considering that Mandela’s daughter herself thanked Elba for his portrayal of her father, and a lot of younger people who are likely to be following entertainment-related feeds may not know who he is and why he’s important, pointing people to a movie about him isn’t such a bad thing. It wasn’t worded right, and yeah, it’s promoting a commercial product, but it’s still going to get people to go see the movie and learn about him and why he’s important.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      I see what you’re saying, but it’s the tone. Other than his name, there are three letters devoted to his life and it’s end, and 13 words devoted to hyping the movie, and they are neither respectful or mournful of his death nor celebratory of his life and achievements.

      Then again, should we really be shocked when the scorpion stings the frog?