The police department in the Canadian town of Kensington are real sorry about that mean Nickelback joke they made earlier this week. In a since-deleted Facebook post, the Kensington authorities warned citizens of the punishment for drunk driving with a little shade thrown at the band from Alberta: “On top of a hefty fine, a criminal charge and a years driving suspension we will also provide you with a bonus gift of playing the offices copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail.”
Well, you know what they say, it's always funny until someone gets hurt. And this was apparently the straw that broke the...nickel's back. The world has been goofing on Nickelback for quite some time now, but as the story of the Kensington police department's joke suddenly went viral, they started to rethink their actions. On Friday afternoon they decide to issue a public apology on Facebook.
"The message being heard was no longer 'Don’t Drink and Drive' and in its wake was a group of guys and their families left wondering why they were the global butt of a joke that they had not deserved," wrote Constable Robb Hartlen, who penned the initial post.
The decision was reached after Hartlen directly reached out to the members of Nickelback to apologize to them. "I have reached out to Nickelback. To Chad, Ryan, Mike and Daniel," he said. "And as we spoke I found out some wonderful news. They feel just as strong about it as I do. So we decided it was best to take down the original post."
A local police unit's Facebook post going viral because the world loves a good Nickelback joke serves as a reminder to all of us that we should think about what we say online (duh). But probably more importantly, it's a reminder to media outlets that the stories they choose to cover, often also as a joke, can have an adverse affect on their subjects by elevating them to a much larger audience. Since the Nickelback post, the Kensington PD has seen a 300% increase in Page Likes, while beforehand they were speaking to a small, local audience and would often get a handful of likes, comments or shares. Having a smaller audience doesn't make a joke more acceptable, but we're probably all guilty of making at least one Nickelback joke in our lifetime. On the spectrum, it's probably not that bad.
Sometimes a joke gets blown out of proportion, and things get out of hand. I feel you, Kensington, Police Department. We've all been there. In the words of the Bee Gees: I started a joke which started the whole world crying/But I didn't see that the joke was on me .