Cindy Day is arguably the main meteorologist of CTV Atlantic, so she is very well known in my province of Nova Scotia.
She even engages with her fans on social media. Unfortunately, last week Cindy’s Facebook engagement ignited a firestorm of hateful and derogatory words directed at her. The outrage became so extreme that an online petition was created to have her fired from CTV.
Here's the backstory:
A rival weather reporter, Frankie MacDonald, is a YouTuber who is probably just as well known as Cindy Day, at least among my millennial generation.
Now let’s face it: Talking about the weather is boring. I don’t even watch Cindy Day on television. I’ll visit The Weather Network’s website for my information instead.
But Frankie is far from boring. He makes weather-reporting fun, with his passionate shouting and his ominous – albeit exaggerated -- warning: “Be prepared!”
Frankie's videos have garnered over 17 million views since his channel’s creation in 2011, and he has over 70,000 subscribers.
For the purposes of this story, it is also important to note that Frankie is autistic.
So, what did Cindy Day do wrong?
She made innocent comments pertaining to Frankie MacDonald on Facebook.
The comments have since been deleted, but I was able to find screenshots, courtesy of The Coast.
On Cindy Day’s Facebook page, a person with an obvious preference for Frankie’s reporting commented, “I like Frankie, but thanks for your update!”
Cindy Day responded to this by writing, “Frankie was over the top with a huge storm for tomorrow. Pretty quiet now.” Cindy ended this statement with a “wink” emoticon.
Later she added:
“I hope people realize that he is not a meteorologist.”
And that's true, whereas Cindy Day herself has a degree in meteorology from McGill University. She has worked for Environment Canada, studying the atmosphere and making educated predictions for Canadian drivers and travellers.
Contrary to popular belief among ignoramuses, Cindy Day isn’t just some woman standing in front of a green screen, reciting a script that somebody else wrote. Cindy Day is the real deal.
While Frankie MacDonald is arguably more entertaining and fun to watch than Cindy Day, ironically, he would not have his weather information to present to us if it wasn’t for Cindy Day and other working meteorologists.
In any event, Facebook commenters began calling her a number of vile names, and asked her how it feels to have committed career suicide.
People made memes of her comments without showing their context, even going so far as to accuse her of making fun of a “mentally challenged man.”
All she did was state a fact. Frankie is not a meteorologist. He is as much a meteorologist as I am a physician.
The meme on the petition page screaming for Cindy Day’s removal from CTV shows her commenting, “Ok, so if you want to discuss other “people’s” weather, do it with them please. thanks!”
People took Cindy Day’s putting the word "people’s" in quotation marks as her way of arguing that Frankie MacDonald is not a real person.
She cleared that up on Facebook, writing:
“I used the word 'people' because the weather comes from many sources, many are not meteorologists. I was not even referring to Frankie. There are so many other sources out there: some legit others not. That’s all I was saying.”
The meme even shows a comment that Frankie MacDonald posted to his own Facebook page over a month BEFORE the Cindy Day comments:
“I Ignore Negative and Rude Comments all the Time on YouTube and my Weather Reports same with liveleak and I don’t read any negative comments at all.”
But the vulnerable masses thought this was directed at Cindy Day.
Cindy Day even posted a public apology on her Facebook page, and made a post about a pleasant phone call she had with Frankie MacDonald after the uproar that resulted from her innocent comments.
If I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t have apologized. She has nothing to apologize for.
Despite the public apology, people still wouldn’t let it go, and hateful remarks still continue to this day.
It’s important to note that Frankie MacDonald didn’t take offense to the comments made by Cindy Day.
To you social justice warriors out there defending these attacks on Cindy Day:
I challenge you to find me anything that Cindy said or wrote that is ignorant, and anything that indicates that she made fun of a mentally challenged man, or bullied somebody with autism.
I would also like you to educate yourself on Autism Spectrum Disorder. You will find that autism is not mental retardation. Many computer programmers are autistic, and they often have a keen interest in one specific subject, like Frankie MacDonald does with weather.
So, instead of getting into a rage over non-problems, focus your energy on the REAL problems our country is facing, like an inadequate healthcare system, government overspending on social services. And specifically to the people of Cape Breton, who are living in perhaps the most economically depressed part of Canada:
Why not channel your rage over innocent comments made by Cindy Day into doing something to help fight our failing economy?