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UPDATE: Weather Channel making donations to Joel Burns charities

By Scott Nishimura
snishimura@bizpress.net

It started early Monday morning with a Tweet from Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns to The Weather Channel:

“Dear@weatherchannel,” Burns’ Tweet read, “I SWEAR I’m deleting your aggravating app if you don’t STOP SHOWING DALLAS pics for Fort Worth.”

A Twitterstorm of support for Burns - who went viral in 2010 with an emotional speech during a council meeting where he implored bullying victims not to commit suicide, saying“it gets better” - ensued, after somebody on The Weather Channel’s social media team replied, “@JoelBurns, Sorry to see you go. Good luck on ending bullying.”

“Today’s lesson on how to screw up your online reputation brought to you by @weatterchannel,” one Tweet read.

Read another: “Free advice to the jackass social media team at @weatherchannel,” another Tweet read. “@JoelBurns has nearly 3 MM YouTube views. Pick a fight w/ someone else.”

The Weather Channel subsequently apologized in a Tweet and a longer statement.

“@JoelBurns, we apologize for our reply this morning,” the Tweet read. “Our response was inappropriate & we’re taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Burns kept going. He retweeted The Weather Channel’s response and said, “let’s help kids instead of snark?”

He asked The Weather Channel to give “100k” to the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Trevor Project, adding, "I'll give $1,000."

The former’s mission is “ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”

The Trevor Project says it’s the “leading national organization providing crisis & suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.”

“Everyone should be treated with respect and understanding, no matter your social orientation or gender identity,” the Trevor Project tweeted late this morning. “We’re all friends here.”

As the day went on, the dispute triggered the launch of a Twitter hashtag #THISisFortWorth, with Burns and others contributing selfies and other photos from around Fort Worth posted to Twitter and directed at The Weather Channel. A Tumblr blog with the same name was also launched.

Monday night, Burns posted an update from The Weather Channel:

"They are working to update their app. They love the #THISisFortWorth photos and might even use some (depending on rights, legalities, etc.) so keep them coming. They are making a contribution to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and Trevor Project."

A Weather Channel representative told Burns she couldn't confirm the amount of the contribution, "but that they would" make one, Burns said in his update.

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