Subject: Feel Good Story for 9/11
Just a quick note if you wanted a departure from all the grimness of the day for your site.
Comedian Steve Hofstetter, whose birthday is today, decided to use the day for something serious. He made a video discouraging his 8 million social media people from birthday wishes, instead asking for donations to a cancer org that helped his wife during a difficult time.
It's a short video, and I admit I welled up at the end.
Senior Account Executive
Next Round Entertainment
So are we overreacting or is this just majorly thoughtless and inappropriate? We don't really have a problem with the video itself, but aside from Hofstetter mentioning at the beginning that September 11th is his birthday, it has nothing to do with 9/11. It's about a fundraiser for a breast cancer organization. It's a nice story, but it's not a "feel good story for 9/11", and it seems really bizarre to us to market it that way.
We also have a problem with the opening line of the email. (We'll just ignore the fact that the email opens with ",-" because Barry forgot to fill in our names or any other generic greeting.) We're both New Yorkers and one of us was in Manhattan on 9/11, so no fucking stupid PR pitch is going to provide us with "a departure from all the grimness of the day", nor would we assume that it would accomplish that for our readers. And then to go on and praise Hofstetter's decision to "use the day for something serious" - as opposed to how everyone else uses 9/11 for fun and games? We get that he's referring to Hofstetter's birthday and not 9/11 itself, but it just comes off sounding tone deaf and insensitive.
Don't use 9/11 to promote yourself. Even if it happens to be your birthday and even if you think it's for a good cause. Just don't do it.