Best Buy is under fire for a tweet about Serial that some are claiming was insensitive to the real-life murder the podcast is based around.
Serial is currently the most listened to podcast with more than 5 million people tuning in. Host, Sarah Koenig, spends each week looking into different aspects of the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee. The case alleges that Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, placed a call to a friend at a Best Buy pay phone looking for a ride after murdering Lee. Syed, who maintains his innocence, despite currently serving time for Hae’s murder, claims the pay phone didn’t actually exist.
Though the tweet received a lot of positive attention from fans, people were also quick to argue that Best Buy’s attempt at humor was actually really insensitive to the fact that a college student was murdered and a man, who may be innocent is serving time.
According to Time magazine, even the official account for the Serial podcast retweeted Best Buy’s quip.
That didn’t stop Best Buy from quickly apologizing and removing the tweet once people started calling foul.
Though some of the tweets did have valid points (especially about the branding bit), we do think it’s important to note that the podcast was created for entertainment and educational value. By telling this story live on air, the creators are, in essence, commercializing the story already. Yes, Best Buy could have involved themselves more tastefully, but their intention wasn’t to capitalize on the victim’s suffering.
Just remember when you’re tuning in every week, you’re doing so because you find the segment interesting and captivating. Does that fascination with the crime in and of itself desensitize and commercialize the murder?
Yes, it does.
But that doesn’t mean Koenig and her team won’t also, simultaneously, do some good in the case and find some justice in truth for Lee.