Hoping to capitalize on Serial’s popularity, Best Buy tweeted a joke Thursday about the true crime podcast, entertaining some fans but offending others.
[Minor spoilers for the Serial podcast follow]
Serial, a spinoff of This American Life, boasts 5 million listeners, more than any other podcast. Each week, its host Sarah Koenig investigates a different aspect of the 1999 murder of high schooler Hae Min Lee. Part of the case against Hae’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, hinges on the idea that Adnan was able to place a call to a friend at a Best Buy payphone, asking for a ride after apparently murdering Hae. But whether this payphone actually existed is a point of contention between Adnan (who is currently serving time for Hae’s murder) and the prosecutors who put him away.
Hence Best Buy’s tweeted joke, “We have everything you need. Unless you need a payphone. #Serial”
Though the tweet garnered hundreds of favorites and retweets (including one from Serial’s own Twitter account), many tweeted to remind Best Buy that Serial is a podcast about a real murder and therefore not the best material to use for corporate promotion. Best Buy later deleted the tweet and issued an apology:
But Best Buy isn’t the first to poke fun at the podcast or even the payphone specifically. In one of a series of parody podcasts, comedians Will Stephen, Zach Cherry and Paul Laudiero mock Sarah Koenig’s obsession with a payphone that, if it existed, has been gone for around a decade and which nobody is likely to remember.
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