Paid to Tweet? Rainn Wilson’s Del Taco Promo Controversy

Rainn Wilson

Oh Dwight, he’s back at it again. Always causing problems on TV series “The Office,” but this time actor Rainn Wilson has a real controversy on Twitter.

The verified Twitter account, @RainnWilson tweeted on Oct. 25th “Joanne – tell @DelTaco I will accept $12,000 to plug their sh***y food. Thanks, Rainn.” The next day several social media news sites, including  Mashable, suggested the public tweet was actually a failed direct message to his assistant.

@RainnWilson later tweeted “Please disregard last tweet – was a private text to my assistant.” Followed by a plug for a Del Taco burrito, “Loving the new @DelTaco Macho Bellgrande Burrito! It’s Beeftacular(tm)!”

So, was Rainn Wilson paid to Tweet about Del Taco? A spokesperson for the chain, Barbara Caruso, told they’re not spilling the refried beans on this one.

“Holy Macho Burrito, this is a lot fuss! At Del Taco, we do not discuss our advertising or promotional contracts,” Caruso said.

It’s not a far-fetched idea to have celebrities endorse products on Twitter. Many powerful Twitter celebrities have a huge following and devoted audience that PR companies only dream of accessing.  Lady Gaga has 15,008,129 followers, Justin Bieber has 13,778,443 followers and Kim Kardashian has 10,714,045 followers.

One PR company, told PRNewser last year that they have paid Kim Kardashian to publish Twitter advertising campaigns. It’s been reported in some cases she received up to $10,000 a tweet.

The queen of reality TV experienced her own Twitter-tastrophe last year when she Tweeted about being on her way to try the new Carl’s Jr. chicken salads. Several entertainment media and bloggers questioned whether or not Kardashian was actually eating at Carl’s Jr. for lunch–or was she just paid to tweet about it. Kardashian posted on her blog:

“Yes, obviously I was paid to be in the commercial… we all have to work! But I was not paid to tweet or talk about the salads on my blog, Facebook account, MySpace account or any other online outlets. Am I not allowed to talk about something I like without people assuming I must have been paid to do it?”

After the Mashable article about Wilson’s Del Taco tweets garnered online buzz, Wilson tweeted, “Joanne – please call @mashable & let them know they are a bunch of idiots. –Rainn,” followed by “Please disregard that last tweet. It was a text meant for my personal asst,” and last, “I love those lovable guys @mashable! They’re so brilliant! On top of their game! Would love to take them to @DelTaco sometime!”

Mashable corrected the story online today, changing the headline from “Rainn Wilson Caught in 12k Tweet for Pay?” to “Rainn Wilson Satirizes Paid Tweets” and added an editor’s note: “Our original headline suggested Rainn Wilson may have accepted money for a tweet. That is not the case. The series of tweets were intended as satire. We apologize for the error.”

Mashable did not specify where they got this new information and did not change the story suggesting he mistakenly tweeted a private message below the new headline. The story also did not update with a quote from Wilson or Del Taco commenting it was satire.

Del Taco tweeted this morning, “Joanne -thanks for setting up the lunch with @RainnWilson- gift cards are on the way!”


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