Society

Writer Makes Tasteless Jokes After Manchester Bombing

| by Michael Doherty

A freelance journalist has sparked outrage with a series of tasteless jokes in the wake of the explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that left at least 22 dead.

David Leavitt made Twitter jokes that have been called "despicable" after the terrorist attack which killed at least 22 people and wounded 50 on May 22, the Daily Mail reports.

"MULTIPLE CONFIRMED FATALITIES at Manchester Arena," tweeted Leavitt. "The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too."

Leavitt's profile description said that he wrote on a freelance basis for CBS, AXS, Examiner and Yahoo, according to the New York Daily News.

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"Honestly, for over a year I thought an Ariana Grande was something you ordered at Starbucks," he tweeted, before asking, "Too soon?"

Leavitt had made the same Starbucks joke on his Twitter at least four times since 2014, Heat Street reports.

He also boasted about the number of notifications he was getting from angry Twitter users over his tweets about the attack.

"Checked my phone and got this message from Twitter," he wrote, posting an image of a message asking if he would like to set up filters for his notifications. "Try swearing at me now!"

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Almost two hours after his first tweet, Leavitt finally apologized for the offensive jokes, saying that he regularly jokes about the news. He also deleted the first tweet, "since so many people asked."

"Sorry 4 offending," he wrote. "Didn't realize the magnitude of the tragedy. I always make stupid jokes about whatever's trending. Condolences 2 families."

Later, Leavitt continued to joke about the reaction to his tweets, posting, "And now I have a small insight of what Donald Trump must deal with on a regular basis."

The companies that Leavitt said that he worked for were quick to distance themselves from the journalist.

"David Leavitt is not a WBZ employee," said CBS affiliate WBZ. "His abhorrent comments in no way reflect the views of our station."

"This person is not employed by AXS," said AXS, another outlet that Leavitt had done work for. "We don't endorse this despicable comment."

Both CBS and AXS have deleted Leavitt's writing from their websites.

Others on Twitter came out to condemn Leavitt's jokes as well.

"So 4 tweets in you 'realized' the 'magnitude?'" wrote one user. "Yeah, not buying it. Especially when you lead off with fatalities."

"Unless you just love attention of any flavor, this tweet seems like a massive error in judgement and/or humanity," said another user.

"Seriously makes me sick," said another. "I don't say this often but I hope he gets fired."

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Daily News, Heat Street, David Leavitt/Twitter / Photo credit: LindsayDaniella/Flickr

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