'Not trying to neg’: State Dept. blasted for travel advice to 'ugly' people
On Wednesday, the agency’s Bureau of Consular Affairs took to Twitter to offer Americans practical travel advice when traveling overseas, using the hashtag #springbreakingbadly.
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity left! Some countries will turn you around if not. #springbreakingbadly— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) March 25, 2016
Most of the advice using the hashtag was innocuous, but things took a personal turn in one tweet that has since been deleted.
“Not a ‘10’ in the US?” the department asked, referring to a rating of physical attractiveness. “Then not a 10 overseas. Beware of being lured into buying expensive drinks or worse—being robbed.”
"Not a ‘10’ in the US? Then not a 10 overseas."😂This tweet (before they deleted it) by the USStateDept was AWESOME! pic.twitter.com/sNb1Z02zgy— Ava (@silentnite22) March 31, 2016
The tweet was meant to be a clever way to warn people about scams that rely on flattery, but many criticized the tweet for being condescending or even sexist.
The State Department, however, rebuked these claims, pointing out that it didn’t mention gender and that it’s wasn’t trying “neg” anyone, referring the tactic of using backhanded compliment when flirting.
@gonicholasgo We made no mention of gender. This can happen to anyone unfortunately.— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) March 30, 2016
Others on Twitter found humor in the tweet, and criticized those outraged at it for being too sensitive.
[THE STATE DEPARTMENT SPOTS YOU DRUNK AT THE CLUB] "your American accent isn't mysterious OR sexy. god, I'm calling you an Uber"— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) March 30, 2016
For the record, that @TravelGov tweet is the funniest thing any federal government account has ever tweeted. Stop being so sensitive.— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) March 30, 2016
A parody account was created, with tweets dedicated to lampooning the agency’s misfire.
if you are not a "10" at home and a foreign national expresses interest in your "personality," immediately exit the bar. This is a SET-UP.— Travel Gov (@Travel_Gov) March 31, 2016
Hours after making its ill-fated tweet, the agency issued an apology, adding that it was only trying to issue useful advice.
Some have been offended by our earlier tweet and we apologize that it came off negatively 1/2— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) March 30, 2016
We see many Americans fall victim to scams each year & want all to be careful while traveling 2/2— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) March 30, 2016