WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Pentagon has scrapped the Twitter account of an agency that counters homemade explosives after it posted joking comments about a bombing in the Philippines, officials said Friday.
After explosions at two movie theaters in the Philippines, a staff member at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Organization (JIEDDO) wrote in a tweet Wednesday that perhaps the cinemas were showing the film “Gigli,” a 2003 romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez that flopped at the box office.
“Were they re-showing Gigli? Bomb explosions occur at 2 movie theaters in the Philippines… the IED is a global threat,” said the post.
When the posting sparked critical reaction online, the agency tried to make another joke along the same lines. “Bad ppl doing bad thing didn’t warrant bad movie reference. Will punish #socialmedia rep by forcing 2 watch Gigli,” the agency wrote on its Twitter account.
After more negative reaction on Twitter, JIEDDO issued an apology. “Tweet was in poor taste. We apologize.”
Pentagon press secretary George Little then promptly announced in a tweet that he had ordered the suspension of the JIEDDO Twitter account “following inappropriate and offensive tweets.”
“Plainly unacceptable,” he wrote.
JIEDDO, which was created to combat improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan with multi-billion dollar funding, said in a statement Friday those responsible for the tweet “have been appropriately disciplined after an internal review.”
The organization “has a policy and procedure in place for selecting and crafting social media posts. That policy was not followed,” spokesman David Small said.
“We sincerely apologize for the distasteful comment. Bottomline, there is nothing funny about an IED event.”