As mentioned on Mashable earlier this week, Justin Bieber used Twitter to post the first nine digits of a phone number located in Texas and encouraged his 19 million followers to “Call me right now.” Bieber fanatics frantically tried to fill in the last digit and call variations of the phone number starting around 10:30 P.M. local time in Texas. Dilcie Fleming, as 81-year-old great grandmother in Dallas, was one of the victims of Bieber’s prank and listened to the phone ring incessantly while crazed Bieber fans filled up her voicemail.
In an interview with MSNBC, Fleming stated “I answered the phone only because I thought maybe it was a family member. I explained to (to the caller) that it wasn’t Justin’s phone number. I hung up and my phone rang again. But the voicemails kept coming and they’re still going on.” Fleming continued “I would like to have is an apology from him and possibly concert tickets for two great granddaughters.”
Both Fleming and another unidentified Texas man are in talks with local attorney Emily Horton in regards to a potential lawsuit for having to put up with tens of thousands of phone calls. The tweet has been removed from the Twitter feed, but the victims claim to still be receiving phone calls from Bieber’s teenage fan base.
Prior to the Bieber prank, filmmaker Spike Lee endangered the lives of Elaine and David McClain when he retweeted the couple’s Florida address as the current residence of 28-year-old George M. Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during late February 2012.
A 33-year-old Los Angeles man named Marcus Higgins had tweeted the address to Lee and other celebrities, but had confused an address for George W. Zimmerman with the man involved with the Trayvon Martin death.
After Lee published the McClain’s address on his Twitter feed, a portion of his 250,000 followers started sending the McClain’s hate mail and a slew of reporters showed up on the doorstep of the McClain residence. Feeling threatened, the McClains abandoned their Sanford, Florida home temporarily for a hotel room. Yesterday, Lee posted a follow-up tweet regarding the mistake and stated “I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address. It Was A Mistake.Please Leave The McClain’s In Peace. Justice In Court.”
According to a report from the Associated Press, Matt Morgan, an attorney for the McClains, stated that Lee called the couple to apologize and the couple reached a settlement with Lee in regards to the incident. Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed to the public. Regarding the phone call, Elaine McClain stated “He was really kind. And when he called us, you could just tell he really felt bad about it. And it was just a slip, and I just know that he really, really has been concerned.”
During early November 2011, Ashton Kutcher got into hot water with his eight million followers when he tweeted in defense of the now-deceased Joe Paterno after the former Penn State football coach was fired following the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. Kutcher immediately apologized about the mistake following the tweet and promised to take a step back from Twitter to manage the feed more effectively. Kutcher still uses the Twitter feed, but the frequency of posts has decreased since the incident.