LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 12: Robin Thicke arrives at Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic) Photo: Getty
Celebrity 'ask me anything' sessions on social media and Reddit are a risky venture. Like the time that ultra conservative politician Ann Coulter breezily said that women shouldn't vote and poor old Susan Boyle's awkwardly named #susanalbumparty.
When it comes to Twitter, the enormous bucket in which everybody and anybody can shout into, the art of the celebrity Q and A session is a delicate one. And nobody knows that better than singer Robin Thicke who fielded questions via Twitter this week under the hashtag #AskThicke.
The open call for questions quickly attracted a flood of hate tweets. It's hard to say what the PR executives behind the campaign expected, but it should've been clear that things aren't likely to go well after the ugly reception of his latest album (named after his estranged wife Paula) and music video for "Get Her Back". Not to mention the fact that this is the man behind the song Blurred Lines, which was deemed the most controversial song of the decade.
The #AskThick hashtag was soon groaning under an articulate, hilarious and rage-filled comments from Twitter users questioning Thicke's attitude to women, his views on sexual assault, the objectification of women in music and in general society and the stalking of women under the guise of being "romantic".
On a scale of R. Kelly to Phil Spector, how do you intend to "Get Her Back?" #AskThicke— Rachel McKibbens (@RachelMcKibbens) June 30, 2014
#AskThicke How far across that blurred line do you have to be before it constitutes rape?— Jeff Leach (@jeffleach) July 1, 2014
How often should I delete my internet search history? You strike me as a good person to ask. #AskThicke— Toby Whithouse (@hanniganspiteri) July 1, 2014
#AskThicke Did you really write a rape anthem as a love song for your wife and are you still wondering why she left you?— Maria (@MariaJPrice) July 1, 2014
#AskThicke Are you an actual predator or just a profoundly boring man desperately trying and failing to make erotically-charged music?— linkshund (@linkshund) July 1, 2014
The backlash to Thicke is not just a good bruising to his ego, but a welcome sign that the appeal of female objectification packaged up as a catchy club anthem is crumbling.
It's also a reminder to PR executives, an 'ask me anything' on social media really does mean that you will be asked anything, so make sure that you have the answers. Especially when it comes to contributing to a rape culture.