Kasey Kahne went to the grocery store Tuesday. The 31 year old Hendrick Motorsports driver was simply doing a chore many of us do on a regular basis. His trip Tuesday however turned out a little different.
Being a young hip kind of guy, Kahne is a prolific user of social media and is constantly using Twitter to keep his fans updated on what he might be doing at any given time. Tuesday, Kahne saw something that disturbed him as he walked into the grocery and tweeted about it.
“Just walking though supermarket… See a mom breast feeding little kid. Took second look because obviously I was seeing things. I wasn’t!”
He then added, “One boob put away one boob hanging!! #nasty.
“I don’t feel like shopping anymore or eating.”
His Tweet set off a firestorm of controversy that soon found its way across America and the world with breastfeeding mothers and those who defend them, taking Kahne to task for his comments. The first response Tuesday began an expletive filled tirade between Kahne and a follower on Twitter who called him an ‘a—hole’ for his ‘nasty’ comment. Kahne replied that the woman was a ‘dumb bitch’.
By Wednesday Kahne had gone from just another race car driver to the anti-Christ hell bent on preventing babies from ever feeding again. From the Huffington Post to the London Daily Mail, Kahne was vilified with comments from readers who turned to the opportunity to debate the subject of breastfeeding in public. The problem is that like many hot button issues in society a militant faction of people exist who will defend the issue and crush anyone who is against it. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, it’s wrong.
Late Wednesday, Kahne was forced to issue an apology and explanation of where he stands on the issue.
“I understand that my comments regarding breastfeeding posted on Twitter were offensive to some people,” he wrote. “For that, I apologize. It was in no way my intention to offend any mother who chooses to breastfeed her child, or, for that matter, anyone who supports breastfeeding children. I want to make that clear.
“In all honestly, I was surprised by what I saw in a grocery store. I shared that reaction with my fans on Twitter. It obviously wasn’t the correct approach, and, after reading your feedback, I now have a better understanding of why my posts upset some of you.
“My comments were not directed at the mother’s right to breastfeed. They were just a reaction to the location of that choice, and the fashion in which it was executed on that occasion.
“I respect the mother’s right to feed her child whenever and wherever she pleases.”
The damage is done of course. Kahne’s apology will never get the same widespread coverage his original post did, but that’s the nature of the media today. And therein lays the other problem.
Kasey Kahne has the right to have an opinion about anything, just as we all do. If I see a breastfeeding mother in a grocery store and it offends me, fine I simply walk away. However with today’s social media the mantra seems to be that if it offends me, I need to let the world know that. Grab the IPhone and Tweet about it, post it to Facebook. For many young people it’s almost an automatic reaction, done without thought. As Kahne learned this week however, having over 100,000 followers reading your every rant will eventually open you up to feedback, some of which might be a tad critical.
My personal opinion of public breastfeeding is mine and it will stay that way. I won’t share it with anyone and that’s my choice. Kasey Kahne also has an opinion, however he decided to publically voice it and he suffered the consequences. He has the right to say what he wants, that doesn’t mean though he has to say it to the world.
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