In the age of social media, it seems there is a new TikTok controversy everyday. These influencers are now starting careers in everything from music to boxing. Thanks to the queen of TikTok, we now can add journalists to the list.
Social media star Addison Rae received major backlash after jokingly tweeting about her experience as a UFC correspondent. The 20-year-old wrote “I studied broadcast journalism in college for 3 whole months to prepare for this moment.”
While Rae’s post may have been light-hearted, many expressed their frustration about how the TikTok star’s tweet was disrespectful and how she was even able to get the position over qualified journalists.
One user wrote, “This is disrespectful to all the people who go to college and work their asses off for jobs like this and sometimes don’t even get them but because Addison has clout, she gets them over qualified sports journalists.”
Another user continued this disappointment and expressed how they can personally relate to the competitiveness of the journalism industry.
“I went to journalism school for two years and interned (unpaid) for another 1.5 years after that,'' the user wrote. “Never got hired on and had to switch careers. Thank you for this info.”
I would never encourage people to get hate on the Internet, but I completely agree that Rae was inconsiderate with her tweet. I don’t think she meant any harm by it, but it was disrespectful to anyone who understands how difficult being a journalist is.
After so much backlash on Twitter, Rae added to the controversy by tweeting, “Nvm, y’all got me fired.”
There may have been some misconception as to Rae’s position with UFC. A representative for ESPN made a statement claiming, “Addison did some interviews with us for UFC 264. However, she is not a full-time employee with UFC.”
So many people blame Addison Rae for her participation in the UFC fight coverage, but we should not be blaming her for anything other than her tweets; we should be blaming UFC and ESPN for their misguided attempt to sensationalize this fight and its news coverage.
It would be a different conversation if Rae had any background or professional experience in ultimate fighting or any professional athletics. Many former athletes and coaches contribute commentary to ESPN and other sports news networks because of their knowledge and expertise. Yet we are not talking about that, we are talking about a girl who makes videos of herself dancing.
UFC chose Addison Rae simply because of her status. There’s no other explanation as to why she would be chosen. It’s not like she was covering foreign correspondence and even becoming a full-time journalist, but it still sends a message to people who work in the industry; it shows that no matter how hard you work or how long you go to school for, someone who has millions of followers on social media will be more sought after for the job.
Some people may wonder why so many individuals care about this. I probably wouldn’t have had as strong of an opinion if she had not made those seemingly light-hearted tweets; however, this is about much more than another TikToker getting special privileges. This is about a future that so many future journalists like me look forward to.
In 2012 Career Cast, a career guidance website, released a report rating the 200 best and worst jobs for that year. Journalists were ranked fifth on the worst list, based on work environment, stress and projected growth.
Being a journalism major, one of the first things I heard is how competitive and difficult this industry is. Many times when I tell someone that I study journalism or how I hope to work in New York someday, I get the same “journalism is dying” lecture, and I am told to have a backup plan. So seeing a college dropout turned TikToker reporting on such an important UFC fight was disappointing to see.
The backlash that both Addison Rae and UFC received for this was definitely extreme but possibly necessary to prevent this from happening again. There are so many qualified and willing journalists that would take Rae’s position and not make jokes about how they landed there. And if Rae is ever chosen to be another correspondent, she should probably keep her jokes to herself.
Hannah Campbell is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Hannah by tweeting her at @hannahcmpbell.