Canadiens apologize for racial slurs appearing on Twitter feed

A promotion designed to send automated responses to fans on Twitter ended up full of racist and vile Twitter handles and comments.

Things are so bad for the Montreal Canadiens right now, even their Twitter account can’t win.

The Canadiens had to issue an apology early Wednesday after a failed attempt to celebrate reaching one million Twitter followers. The promotion was designed to send automated responses to followers with customized video messages and images of jerseys. Fans were told to tweet using the hashtag #CanadiensMTL1M to receive a surprise. The Twitter feed ended up full of racist and vile Twitter handles and comments.

We won’t show the offensive content here, but if you’re really curious about what the Habs were dealing with, click here.

The team blamed the problem on a filtering issue and quickly issued an apology, and deleted several Tweets.

You would think a professional organization, of any nature, would know the dangers of these kinds of automated programs. If this situation sounds familiar, it should. In 2014, the New England Patriots celebrated one million followers with an identical campaign, with the very same problems. The Patriots’ and Canadiens’ issues are so similar it begs the question of whether the Habs were even using the same software, but didn’t learn any lessons. Two years ago the Toronto Maple Leafs tried to engage fans and were also taken over by trolls.

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The Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks are the only other NHL teams with one million Twitter followers. The Boston Bruins will probably be next. Hopefully they’ve learned a lesson in how not to celebrate the occasion.