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Obscene tweet gets Vodafone rep suspended

A customer service employee posts a homophobic tweet on Vodafone's official Twitter page. The company is forced to apologize, and he is suspended.

Working in customer service is never easy. People can be difficult, nay, impossible at times. But if there is one small rule, especially in this day of rampant networks with nothing better to do than be social, it's the one that says "don't insult the customer."

This rule seems not to have been followed by one customer service representative who works, at least for now, for U.K. wireless carrier Vodafone.

According to the Guardian, this individual posted a Friday tweet on Vodafone's official Twitter page that read: "VodafoneUK is fed up of dirty homo's and is going after beaver."

CC Mark Hillary/Flickr

It appears that at first, many of Vodafone's Twitter followers presumed that this was the work of a hacker. Now it appears more likely to have been posted by a homophobic slacker.

Perhaps he thought it was funny. Well, according to the report, the tweet seems to have been posted from the customer service center in Stoke, a town in the United Kingdom's Midlands and, truly, almost everything is funny in Stoke. You can imagine, however, that it didn't take more than a few hundred seconds for this homophobic tweet to have been seized upon by those who thought it humorphobic.

In an attempt to limit the public-relations damage, Vodafone replied individually to everyone who inquired about the tweet with this message: "We weren't hacked. A severe breach of rules by staff in our building, dealing with that internally. We're very sorry." The company also announced that the employee had been suspended "until further notice."

Vodafone's eminently sensible response seems to be working. A poster called Denny, for example, sent this tweet Friday: "Just spotted all the excitement about your account today...hope it doesn't cause any serious changes, you do a great job."

The question remains as to why the employee has been suspended rather than fired. You'd think that there couldn't be a clearer case of customer disservice.