Remember that post I wrote this morning that with the Serial podcast we have to constantly recalibrate ourselves to remember that a real person died and other lives have been ruined, despite our entertainment with the subject?
Best Buy didn’t read it.
The Tweet references the role Best Buy plays in the murder. That is, it’s where Hae Min Lee — a real person — was killed, according to the official account of her death, and where the person serving time — Adnan Syed — allegedly used a payphone to call the person who blew the whistle on him to help dispose of her body.
In recent episodes, it’s been pretty well proven that there was no payphone at the Best Buy store any more than there was a lot deep thinking going on at the Best Buy social networking cubicle.
To its credit, Best Buy owned the gaffe.
We deeply apologize for our earlier tweet about Serial. It lacked good judgment and doesn’t reflect the values of our company. We are sorry.
— Best Buy (@BestBuy) December 11, 2014
At Slate, Alison Griswold gives Best Buy a pass:
Yes, it’s true that Serial is a journalistic enterprise about a real, serious event. It’s also true that, on some level, it feels wrong for a brand to exploit that. But at this point in the series, Serial is much more than a journalism project. It is a cultural phenomenon. Some 5 million people have downloaded and streamed its episodes. Thousands are parsing the details of its case on Reddit. People aren’t just listening to Serial because it’s important and weighty and informative—they’re listening to Serial because it’s entertaining. I think we all agree that pop culture and entertainment are fair game for brands to market on. If we accept that Serial has crossed into that territory, it seems hypocritical to treat it as strictly off-limits.