Sears investigating security footage used to mock breastfeeding moms

Jul 21, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

On a Twitter account that has now disappeared, a young man allegedly posted Sears' security footage of breastfeeding moms. Is breastfeeding discrimination going high tech?

Breastfeeding in public broadcast on Twitter

The Twitter account has since disappeared, but a savvy web user took screencaps of two photos, posted around a month apart. Each photo showed moms breastfeeding in a Sears department store. The photos appear be zoomed-in screencaps of security footage — footage only employees have access to. The Twitter account belonged to a young man who noted that he worked at a Sears store when he wrote, "Catching thieves day by day at a sears near you."


Employment and social media

Taking a photo of someone without their permission and posting it online for amusement is never OK. It's even more alarming when it is someone employed in a store's security department. Abusing your power for your own entertainment is a very poor decision.


Sears is currently investigating the incident and is hopefully taking this very seriously. Surely there is a policy in place about employees using security footage on their personal social media accounts. And if there isn't, there definitely needs to be.

In this age of social media, anything can wind up online — but people need to remember that once something is posted online, it isn't private any more, and screencaps are way too easy to do with just about any bit of technology that you have access to. Moms shouldn't have to worry about their photos winding up on Twitter because some teen has access to security film.

We're not nursing for an audience

I have breastfed four children and like many moms, I sometimes fed them in stores. It was the easy thing to do when they were hungry, and it also came in handy in emergencies when they were older. Once, my youngest was toddling around Kmart when she stumbled and fell onto the corner of a shelf that nailed her right below the eye. She screamed and cried and I sat right down in the aisle to nurse her right away. She calmed down almost immediately and as the area was nearly deserted, the few other mothers wandering around didn't even notice.

Had our photo wound up on somebody's Twitter account I would have been livid. Nursing in public is totally normal, but when someone pulls a photo from zoomed-in security footage and distributes it with ridicule through his social media channels, that's unacceptable. I feel awful for these moms who were doing nothing more than minding their own business and taking care of their children as they went about their day.

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