Yesterday morning, country music star Blake Shelton made a comment on his twitter feed stating,
“Are Eastern Box Turtles protected in Oklahoma? If so, I didn’t just swerve to the shoulder of the road to smash one.”
Blake Shelton, being a celebrity country singer and host on the TV show, The Voice, has a large following of people from all different backgrounds. As such, social media outlets are monitored pretty frequently for updates from their favorite celebrities. Shelton is known for his interesting form of “humor” on his twitter page. It is understandable that one person’s sense of humor is not always someone else’s, however, in this recent case the consequences of a particular type of humor span much greater than Shelton truly realizes. Whether he likes it or not, he is a role model. Young, impressionable children look up to him, want to be him, and will want to mimic the behaviors seen from Shelton. Furthermore, even some of his adult followers will do anything they can to align themselves with a celebrity or try to get a little attention from them. This spreads the original message like wild-fire across the social networks.Let’s change his “joke” up a little bit. Let’s say he posted:
“That puppy in the road? HA! He tried to escape my tires, but 55mph was too quick for him!”
Worded a bit differently and a “cute and cuddly” animal took place of the box turtle, but the concept is the same. An innocent creature is being “joked” about being intentionally crushed under the tires of a motor vehicle he was operating. We all realize that he was nowhere in Oklahoma at that time and this was simply his crude sense of humor at work. However, that’s not entirely the issue. Upon Shelton’s intentions being questioned by two respected members of the zoological community, Shelton responded with comments such as, “Shut up” and “You need to get laid”. To make matters even worse, he sets out to make further twitter posts insulting those who showed concern for his behavior:
“Blake Shelton @blakeshelton
Do they even have turtles in North Dakota?!!! God almighty!!! What’s wrong with people?! Get a life!! Get a job!! Get laid!! For once!!!”
Mr. Shelton, we would be inclined to state that most if not all individuals who were responding to your poor taste in humor have jobs and normal lives. However, you also neglect to understand that many of those jobs and lives revolve around wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, or even conservation efforts of species of wildlife that keep our ecosystems in balance and keep the world safe and healthy for your children and your children’s children. We are not so full of ourselves that we ignore the importance of helping creatures that can’t help themselves. It is for that reason that some of us get frustrated when someone in the public spotlight behaves in such a way as it insults all of us who actually have to use our brain for a living, instead of making a living moving our mouths to a rhythm.
Mr. Shelton is an entertainer. As such, he is often given far more respect and placed on a pedestal that our nation even fails to provide our troops who protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Instead of using that influence and prestige he is granted for a good cause and to help join people together, he seeks to make crude and senseless jokes and then jumps on the ultra-defensive when he is called out on his irresponsible and immature behavior. For another example of his poor conduct and professionalism, see his next twitter post:
“Blake Shelton @blakeshelton
The best part of all of this is that the dumb asses didn’t even look to see that I’m not even in Oklahoma today!! I’m in North Dakota!!”
Still failing to comprehend the whole picture of his actions, he sets out to continue insulting people who were often even former fans of his. Because they actually showed concern for his actions (unknowing of whether his comment was truthful or jokingly), they are insulted repeatedly. On one hand, he tells them to get a job and a life, and on another hand he’s complaining that because they have a life and a job and can’t follow his every movement, they don’t realize immediately that he’s not in the state he was joking to have “smashed” a box turtle in. Make up your mind, Blake!
When celebrities have made the decision to step into the public spotlight, there is a responsibility that comes inherent with that fortune and fame. That responsibility is to use your newly acquired power and influence to help shape the world in a positive manner. While everyone is entitled to have some fun and show their sense of humor, certain things, especially those who carry an emotional impact need to be tempered. Blake Shelton has failed miserably in that department within the last 48 hours. But, the question comes to mind, what was truly accomplished by Shelton’s behaviors?
Most animal handlers and keepers have leather skin. We’re used to unsavory and insulting comments regarding our professions. Blake’s very unprofessional and immature conduct towards those of us who questioned his behaviors are of little concern to us in the grand scheme of things. However, as we watch the rest of his twitter feed and comments from some of his supporters, we see that many of these individuals are encouraging his behavior and in their misguided notions are discussing finding turtles to crush themselves.
We know that Blake Shelton isn’t an entirely heartless individual. He has raised money for homeless animals, as well as he is willing to take his time to go meet a 6 year old little girl who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. These acts are truly commendable and a testament that Blake does truly feel for those who cannot help themselves. But, how would Blake respond if someone were to make a crude joke about that little girl with cancer? Would he be upset and begin a streak of insults to the “joker”? Where do we draw the line of what is okay to be joked about? Is it okay to insult anyone and everyone, so long as you attach a “just kidding” behind it, or because you are known for making crude jokes?
Blake Shelton, you are in a position to do a lot of good for this nation and the world abound. Please don’t take that for granted. You are held in high esteem as a celebrity, so please don’t waste that opportunity by making foolish public statements and “jokes” that further separate us as a nation.Herpetoculture House