Rihanna has a huge public image problem after a tweet was sent on Monday from her official account containing the hashtag #FreePalestine.
TMZ reported that the 26-year old record star was inundated by fans questioning whether she was supporting Hamas. She denied the accusation, and said that she was not a supporter of The Palestinian Authority.
The tweet was removed after eight minutes of it first appearing. However, according to New York Magazine, it had already been re-tweeted 7000 times by her followers.
Rihanna swiftly shifted into damage control mode, and a source close to her said she had not intended to send it. Speaking to TMZ anonymously, the source said, “She deleted it because it was never meant to be tweeted. She didn’t even realize it was a tweet until she started hearing from her fans.”
It was claimed that Rihanna had been reading about the recent events in Gaza which followed the abduction and murder of three Israel teenagers and the death of an Arab boy.
The best explanation that she could come up with, according to the same source, was that, while reading about the conflict, Rihanna had inadvertently sent out the hash tag.
However, TMZ questions this explanation, terming it “obviously curious.” The reason for their skepticism has to do with how Twitter functions. It says that in order to tweet, someone would either have to type the message or cut and paste it, and then consciously click the “Tweet” button.
If that claim is correct, it means that the tweet could not have been sent by accident, as Rihanna claimed.
The same source, working hard to protect Rihanna’s image, said Rihanna is not pro-Palestine or pro-Israel… “she is pro-peace,” adding “She doesn’t want innocent people dying.”
Probably, after the dust has settled, people will be willing to give Rihanna the benefit of the doubt, understanding that anyone – even celebrities – can get caught up in moment of emotion and say or do things they regret later.
Just ask Mel Gibson and Gary Oldman, both of whom probably wish that THEIR remarks about Jews had also not received quite so much publicity.