Man loses job over Twitter search for marijuana
An auto shop worker who took to Twitter in search of marijuana scored some unwanted attention from local police and a place in the unemployment line.
On Tuesday morning, Const. Blair McQuillan of York Regional Police noticed a bold tweet from Sunith Baheerathan, who was working a shift at a Mr. Lube in Vaughan, just north of Toronto.
“Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop?” Baheerathan tweeted. “Come to Keele/Langstaff Mr. Lube, need a spliff.”
Baheerathan did not commit a crime with his tweet, and so does not face any charges.
But McQuillan, who was operating the force’s Twitter account that morning, re-tweeted Baheerathan’s plea with his own message: “Awesome! Can we come too?”
The tweet quickly exploded on the social media site, receiving 3,710 re-tweets and 2,456 “favourites” by Wednesday afternoon.
“We just thought that it would be kind of a funny approach to it, something that’s kind of original and would capture people’s attention,” McQuillan told CTV Toronto.
Police also notified the shop’s owner about the employee’s search for a spliff, and Baheerathan was immediately fired.
He again took to Twitter to announce his firing, tweeting to a friend that he “got the call of termination.”
Baheerathan also lamented that he had “lost complete hope in society man,” because police were focused on someone looking for weed rather than other crimes.
"Gotta watch what you tweet nowadays, even the freedom of speech & the right to an entitled opinion isn't safe," read another tweet.
McQuillan said police are not “Big Brother,” sitting around monitoring tweets, but rather came across Baheerathan’s tweet by chance. Twitter users are “accountable” for what they say, he said.
“I wouldn’t be able to sit here and send out a tweet asking for drugs without somebody alerting my boss,” McQuillan said.
Baheerathan seemed to acknowledge this point in yet another tweet about the incident, saying: “Can’t lie, stupid move. But would y’all have noticed the tweet if YRP didn’t re-tweet it?”
He has since made his Twitter account private, meaning only those users he allows as followers can see his full profile.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Colin D’Mello