Atlanta Man's Firing over Facebook Post Highlights Consequences of Social Media

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Many people across the country are talking about the consequences of social media after a Facebook post cost an Atlanta man his job.

Gerod Roth was fired from Polaris Marketing Group last week after a picture he posted with his co-worker's child set off a string of racist, insensitive remarks. Roth says some of his Facebook friends made the comments but he called the child "feral."

Roth insists he didn't mean that term in a racial way.

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However, what anyone says or does on social media is up for interpretation.

Dr. Denish Shah, marketing professor of Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business, spoke with FOX 5 Friday.

Shah said, in Roth's case, there was nothing wrong with the initial selfie he took with the 3-year-old boy.

"I saw the screenshot of the picture. And nothing is wrong with it," Shah said. "But the messages that follow... there were some serious issues with that."

Shah contends people should remove posts from their social media accounts that can cause harm even if they're not making vile comments on them. He believes failure to do that hurt Roth.

"The fact the person who posted it did not remove the selfie right then makes him a party or silent supporter of whatever is going on," Shah adds.

Still, Shah admits there's a slippery slope when it comes to posts and how employers should react to them. That's why he suggests all companies mandate a social media policy: rules that outline how employees should act and interact on social media.

"You can always have two sides to every story. One says this is my personal freedom. And the other says this is a violation of what we stand for as a company," Shah contends.

FOX 5's call to Polaris Marketing Group regarding a social media policy wasn't returned.

Roth claimed he asked friends to stop making the insults. He also said he tried to take down the post, but Facebook beat him to it.

However, a representative for Facebook told FOX 5 the social site did not remove the post.

He's saddened he lost his job, but understands PMG's actions.

"I feel like that was something they had to do to keep the spotlight off themselves," Roth said.