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The Case of Tweeter @JeanettePearls

Screenshot of the profile of Tweeter @JeanettePearls. The profil ephoto is actually that of actress Julie Brister.

Screenshot of the profile of Tweeter @JeanettePearls. The profile photo is actually that of actress Julie Brister.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) on January 26 sent out a series of tweets directed at Twitter account holder @JeanettePearls,  a person who claims they are a social worker who lives in Houston and is a mother of two.

NASW had received complaints that @JeanettePearls was making racially charged comments on Twitter that hurt the reputation of the social work profession.

For instance, @JeanettePearls wrote tweets that used an offensive term to describe people who are black.

The tweeter, who apparently also uses the Twitter handle @RhondaSooley, had also upset people by questioning why fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana had created a hijab and abaya line of clothing for women who are Muslim.

NASW and its Texas Chapter had no record of social workers named Jeanette Pearls or Rhonda Sooley.

The image @JeanettePearls used on her Twitter account was actually that of Julie Brister, an actress from Lubbock, Texas who has appeared on “Parks and Recreation,” “The New Normal,” “Reno 911!” and other television series.

Brister’s agent Nic de Armendi says the actress is aware a Tweeter user named @JeanettePearls used her photo and the same person had probably used her photo on other racist accounts. Brister had tried unsuccessfully to have Twitter block these accounts.

“She is definitely NOT associated with the account or its message,” de Armendi wrote in an email.

Due to the outcry over the account NASW and its Texas chapter decided to respond to @JeanettePearls and @RhondaSooley’s tweets. Here are some of the tweets:

NASW is concerned you identify yourself as a social worker @JeanettePearls @RhondaSooley

Some of your tweets are racially & culturally offensive @JeanettePearls @RhondaSooley

Social workers follow NASW Code of Ethics @JeanettePearls @RhondaSooley

The Code of Ethics calls on social workers to challenge social injustice, including racism @JeanettePearls @RhondaSooley

As of today the Twitter account @JeanettePearls appears to be deactivated. However @RhondaSooley is still active. @RhondaSooley identifies herself as a social support worker.

Are you concerned someone is misusing the social work title or is a social worker who is behaving in an unprofessional way? Contact the National Association of Social Workers Office of Ethics and Professional Review. And follow NASW on Twitter.


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