Whoever dreamt up the idea of hosting a live Twitter Q&A with “poster boy for misogyny” Robin Thicke will no doubt remain stuck in a perpetual facepalm cycle until the end of the week.
Because instead of receiving hoards of questions probing the singer for vital information on his favourite sandwich filling and what his spirit animal is, the #AskThicke hashtag grew into an altogether angrier publicity beast.
The stunt was organised by broadcaster VH1 who, having secured interview time with the R-n-Sleaze star, decided it was best used on social media, where instead of researching questions for him themselves, the general online public would have the chance to quiz him instead.
And this might have worked, too. Had Thicke not been the controversial writer of “Blurred Lines” – a song widely panned for its derogatory lyrics, condemned by women’s organisations and banned from several university campuses in Britain.
As well as sparking outrage online, the track was criticised by UK charity Rape Crisis for trivialising sexual violence, objectifying women and “reinforcing rape myths”. And followers on Twitter haven’t forgotten those facts.
The conversation started off friendly enough, with a smattering of bizarre requests entirely characteristic of Twitter takeovers:
Who are you? #AskThicke I genuinely don't know.Jillywig (@jiltid) July 1, 2014
#AskThicke Can you help me move house on Saturday?Ben Punter (@benpunter) July 1, 2014
But things soon took a turn, and posts such as these began appearing with alarming regularity, before they flooded the feed entirely:
#AskThicke Did you really write a rape anthem as a love song for your wife and are you still wondering why she left you?Maria (@MariaJPrice) July 1, 2014
#askthicke when you wrote Blurred Lines did you do a jump and say "wow! Men and those other objects are going to love this!"Neil Webb (@trialsoflife) July 1, 2014
#askThicke If one of your songs played in a forest and no one was around to hear it would it still be sexist and gross?Harsh Lauren (@LaurenHarsh1) July 1, 2014
#AskThicke When you're not busy objectifying women, making light of rape and justifying sexual violence, how do you like to relax?Josephine Liptrott (@JoLiptrott) July 1, 2014
Which greatly amused Twitter users this morning, who were quick to point out VH1’s terrible lapse of judgement after they spotted the hashtag trending:
#AskThicke was a baaaaadddd idea lolAℓєχ (@holyh00ker) July 1, 2014
Whoever thought #askthicke would be a good idea, is probably crying and praying for the ground to open and swallow them whole.Andrien Gbinigie (@EscoBlades) June 30, 2014
the #askthicke feed = my morning entertainmentcaroline burke (@_burkatron) July 1, 2014
The Q&A comes after Thicke performed another grovelling rendition of his new track “Get Her Back” at the BET Awards on Sunday (29 June) – a tedious ode to the breakdown of his marriage to actress Paula Patton.
The track does, however, come complete with a laughably bad music video, in which a bloodied, bruised and beaten Thicke stands wincing in pain as he mouths the lyrics to one of the most pitifully boring songs ever to be whined into existence.
Far from the Aviator shades, suit and topless models, this time it’s Thicke who’s semi-naked and vulnerable, crying in the dark as text messages reading ‘I hate myself’ and ‘You ruined everything’ mooch across the screen like angsty teenagers.
Watch it in full below: