Abdullah’s words, which she deeply regrets, might never have been seen by the families of the young men who died had it not been for the fact that some people who spotted them noticed that her Twitter profile said she had written for the Guardian. This led some Twitter users to leap to the conclusion that she was on the newspaper’s staff, which amplified their shock and surprise.
Last week the Guardian received complaints about tweets made by a writer who occasionally writes for the Comment is Free section of its website.
This week, readers’ editor Chris Elliott dealt with the incident, in which the freelancer Kia Abdullah, made an attempt at some black humour on Twitter following the deaths of three backpackers in Thailand. The joke backfired and Abdullah’s association with the Guardian led to complaints to the paper. Even Alan Rusbridger, the editor in chief, ended up commenting when he described the remarks as “grossly insensitive”.
I won’t go into too much detail about the original tweets (which Abdullah has now removed on request and apologised for) and the aftermath which Elliott has described in his column. What I want to post about is freelancing and responsibility to our clients and how far this should go. Continue reading