New Zealand police have found themselves in hot water after posting a meme that made light of telling family members of a fatality caused by a car crash.
On Monday morning, the official police Twitter account tweeted: “When we have to tell someone their family member has died in a crash”, along with an image of a bemused-looking Steve Carell from The Office and the subtitle: “This is the worst!”
The tweet came after a devastating weekend on New Zealand roads, with nine people losing their lives. This brings the road death toll over the past 12 months up to 371, the highest ever for the country.
The New Zealand police deleted the tweet shortly after, but not before several Kiwis called it out for its insensitivity.
OK, it's only Monday, but this tweet by NZ Police already takes the booby prize for social media fail of the week. Tone-deaf. pic.twitter.com/w4xG3NAyPL
— Nik Dirga (@nikdirga) October 9, 2017
“Tone deaf”, tweeted one New Zealander.
After deleting their meme, the police issued a formal apology on Twitter identifying the insensitivity of their original tweet.
We apologise for the recent road safety tweet. We quickly realised it was wrong & insensitive & it was immediately deleted. Thx for feedback
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) October 9, 2017
“We appreciated the prompt feedback we got from members of our community who pointed out the inappropriateness of the tweet. We are extremely sorry”, wrote Karen Jones, a spokesperson for the New Zealand police.
This kind of stuff-up is not typical of the Kiwi police, who in the past have demonstrated a great use of social media. In May, the police Facebook page went viral after a sharing a call made by a scammer who accidentally dialed their office.
The police also shared this cautionary gif before the weekend:
Take it slow on the roads this weekend 🚗🛣️ pic.twitter.com/dPq6vgjrg5
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) October 6, 2017