What To Do When Your Blog Content Offends

offendsBlogging is great right?

Each of us, no matter the category, has our own private real estate on the web: our blog – a place we can call our own and develop at our own pace. It’s something we should each be proud of because it takes guts.

But, what happens when our content is deemed offensive?

Yes, I said it. Offensive. What happens when a reader who crosses paths with your content considers it distasteful?


I know it sounds crazy but it can happen.

In fact, it happened to me and I was not prepared.

The day it happened, I followed my Thursday social media routine – posting a throwback photo from my blog to drive traffic to an old post. I have to admit, it was one of my favorite outfits. Last year, when I had a china bang, I draped my scarf around my head in an Audrey Hepburn fashion.

Yet, despite my love for the style icon, the look was reminiscent (to me) of hijab fashion, a religious and cultural fashion style that I personally enjoyed. So, in my innocent excitement, I gave my picture the caption ‘My version of hijab fashion.’ I thought it was genius! Maybe it would grab the attention of those who loved that style and cross cultural boundaries! Well, a day into its lifetime, I realized my genuine enthusiasm was misplaced.

I won’t really go into specifics but suffice to say, I was called out on my outfit and caption. Funny thing is, I received the notification while out catching up with a dear friend. It was very random. In fact, it was the day after I had initially posted it. Nevertheless, the result was mind-blowing. My outfit, the one I loved so dearly, was deemed offensive.

Pausing to fully grasp the situation, I read the comment multiple times. Yes, it hurt. I’m not a robot. I loved this look! And most of all, I didn’t intend for it to be offensive. I actually wanted it to be liberating. But no, I had actually managed to accomplish the opposite. I had insulted a culture and a religion. It was like a slap in the face! I had entered that strange realm of offense – a place where my influence and perspective could be misconstrued and my heart misunderstood.

Needless to say, I followed my gut and apologized for the mistake I’d made both in response to the comment and in a private message. However, the occurrence sparked a deep thought process. Maybe I’m new to this whole thing but I truly had no idea how to handle such a comment. To tell you the truth, I recovered from the comment much quicker than I’d imagined but when I returned to my notifications and saw that it was shared with an invitation to critique my brazen caption, I inwardly panicked. What if they were right and this affected my readership? What if?

It’s some scary ish being put on blast like that. I don’t think even the bravest souls relish that kind of exposure. But anyway, like Pope would say, “It’s handled.” However, I’m curious.

How would you have handled a similar comment? Do you think it’s appropriate for bloggers to apologize for their content?

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  • Totally agree Tamara

  • Great example! There are always strong opinions on either side and you like you said, if you are intentionally considerate, your blog your opinions. I think the main struggle we face as bloggers is the inability to always communicate our heart to a reader, especially when they’re random. Would you agree?


  • I think about this ALL the time but when I’m thinking rationally I realise that just like when you’re actually having a conversation with anyone, someone could be offended. We all have differing opinions. I think it also depends on the social and political climate. There is a lot of anti-Islam stuff happening as well as race issues and cultural appropriation. If none of that was going on, would said person be as sensitive and offended? I think as long as we are sensitive to where there may be tension and our intentions are pure, then, your blog your opinions. Freedom of speech works both ways so yes they can be offended but that doesn’t make your comment wrong. I think with any speech or act by a human, there is room to offend as we’re all emotional beings. I read an article recently where a woman was sharing her opinion about having children and some people commented what I consider some real strong opposing comments. The same blog had another article about not wanting children and again some real strong opposing comments – so either side of the coin offended people.

  • Exactly! You shouldn’t apologize for your point of view simply because one person deems it offensive. Luckily, in my case, I checked with friends who were of similar faith to the offended party and they pointed out to me specifically what was offensive. Then and only then (like you brilliantly stated) did I apologize.

  • Well-said! If we can’t be open on our blogs – our own real estate – then what’s the point?

  • I completely agree! Negative feedback is a great opportunity to shine and share your heart and you handled it beautifully.

  • I believe the best course of action to take in situations wherein you’re accused of being offensive is to reread what you wrote/posted, check the tone of it, and then have some people close to you read it and seek their opinion. If you find that you could’ve worded what you said differently or if you determine that it was offensive in some way, then and only then should you apologize. I do not think you should apologize simply because one person thought it was offensive and called you out for it. I also believe it is the responsibility of the person who’s offended to tell you specifically what offended them privately – not publicly.


  • I totally understand your reservation for posting content that may offend people. I haven’t had anyone reach out to me about being offended and honestly I don’t know what I would do. The real life version of me would probably flick a finger and walk off but in the digital world, its a little more complicated.Naturally, I don’t want to seem as someone who would openly offend anyone and my intentions are never that- but there is always going to be someone with something to say. There’s always that one little penguin who wants to waddle in and misconstrue words to create tension that no blogger wants. I’d say take it with a grain of salt. It’s appropriate to apologize if the person seems sincerely offended but otherwise I’d say learn from it and move on.

    I like the freedom of speech that the blogging world thrives from and if we can’t let our voices be heard on our blog- then where else?


  • Tuesdai Noelle

    I agree!

  • Interesting question! I recently had a negative (and positive) reaction to a headline that I wrote for an email newsletter. Like you, I wrote it not thinking it was at all offensive. I just thought it was clever.
    I did get mixed reactions to it. But, it was also my most opened email newsletter!

    For those people who were offended AND emailed me about it — I shared with them where I was coming from, how I was not intending to be offensive, thanked them for their feedback, and chalked it up to a lesson learned.

    The biggest lesson I learned from this was to think about my intentions. I want to put forth positive intentions before I write a post or any sort of public text.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Tuesdai, very good point. Should we just stop sharing our opinions because they say we should? I wholeheartedly say, ‘No!’ There would be no progress if we all blindly followed the masses.

    Using my situation as an example, removing the picture completely because it offended someone, would have been reacting out of fear whereas changing my caption was respectful. However, I didn’t apologize for my inspiration being hijab fashion. That is exactly what it was and so it is what it is.

    Besides if we don’t stand for anything and fall for everything, we are doing ourselves an injustice.


  • Tuesdai Noelle

    While everyone is “entitled to their opinion,” they are NOT entitled to force their opinions within the walls of someone else’s “home.” Seems,nowadays, people have taken on a NEW freedom of speech: if you offend with your words, even in truth, take it down because there’s a new “voice in town” that says, “people have feelings and their feelings MATTER MORE than your words to speak as you feel!”. So, you’re strong armed! It isn’t fair. But as you said in the beginning: “our blog – a place we can call our own and develop at our own pace. It’s something we should each be proud of because it takes guts.” Keyword: Our. I believe in this and that’s how I operate. My home, my type of “welcome.” And no, you don’t want to offend, but isn’t it offensive to tell someone they can’t think like they want to, because YOU don’t like what they said? Yes.

  • I wholeheartedly agree! You cannot please everyone – such is life. Plus how boring would life be if we all agreed on everything?


  • Nice! What’s cool is that the offended person just made you more visible to your audience and your response was beyond great!

    I don’t think I’m a fan of negativity but your example proves that it can increase your readership and cement your influence.

    Thank you for reading!


  • Ahhhh I hate to say it but I was thinking about his topic last night as I was watching the RHOA reunion. Honestly something could offend anyone. Generally you never know what may be offensive and if it is truly not your intent then its okay to apologize. However, you cannot censor EVERYTHING you do in order to avoid offensive. In this case you did not intend to offend and I think your response is appropriate.

    Zena | http://www.hersavvycareer.com

  • Kimi Le V

    I have a sex health blog, but surprisingly my offensive concerns have been very limited. I was in a blogger networking group on Facebook, where we share each other’s posts. One blogger said my site itselr is offensive.

    I apologized to HER for my site being personally offensive, but I informed her that it is based on education and empowering people to know themselves. I got a few subscribers that day…


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