If you haven’t heard already, Diabetics and Diabetic Advocates have been in an uproar on Twitter over some hugely insensitive, dumb-ass tweets that Crossfit posted. I typically avoid Twitter feuds as if my life depended on it… but I couldn’t let this one go. I was appalled at Crossfit’s ignorance. I also asked myself repeatedly “WTF is their marketing team thinking?!” and “WHO THE HELL thought this was a good idea?!” Some people may say I’m overreacting… “it was just a dumb tweet” they might say. Unfortunately, it is a big deal. Both my marketing self and my Diabetic self are internally cringing and eye rolling over what a gigantic Douche-bag Crossfit is being.
The original tweet… offensive from the picture to the caption.
Their tweet is such a big deal because it continues to spreading misinformation – There is already a vast ignorance surrounding Diabetes in general. There is ignorance (even among Doctors) about the differences between type 1 and type 2. Victims tend to be blamed or shamed for having a disease they didn’t want. This kind of misinformation impacts the way diabetics are treated on a regular basis, less research funding, and less empathy for the extremely complex and difficult disease we deal with on an everyday basis. This misinformation creates conflict among diabetics. In an effort to start differentiating T1 and T2, there is finger pointing and arguing about which disease is harder and whether or not someone is at fault for a disease they didn’t want and have to suffer with for every minute of every day.
Instead of an apology, we get more Diabetic shaming…
I can imagine that their original goal was to point out how much sugar we consume. I get that, and I don’t disagree. Americans as a whole consume WAY to much sugar. Sugar in and of itself has hugely negative side effects – it’s addictive, creates weight gain, sluggishness, blah, blah, blah. There are studies on why excessive sugar is bad for us and how crappy a lot of our food is. They should have focused on that, instead, they are focusing on targeting Diabetes. Instead of trying to create a positive message encouraging folks to eat better, Crossfit decided to bully a group of people already suffering.
Instead of apologizing, they continue to dig themselves deeper. Instead of sucking it up and saying, “We shouldn’t have posted those offensive pictures, we meant to focus on the harmful effects of sugar – not spread bad information about a very serious disease” they continue to post “facts” about why they were right. As a marketing professional, this makes me cringe inside…. So much. It is a terrible marketing strategy. As a consumer, this tells me that Crossfit doesn’t actually care about their consumers – or potential consumer base. I wonder if it occurred to them that they have diabetic clients? I wonder if they made assumptions that Diabetics can’t be fit or don’t eat healthy and nutritious meals? Ultimately, it makes me seriously question the ethics of their company and whether or not they are actually trying to enable people to be healthy, or if they are just interested in shaming people who aren’t.
One thing I am glad to see? The fact that this tweet has sparked a huge conversation about what a complicated and frustrating disease diabetes really is.
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