Category Archives: Business & Commercial

“It’s Unethical To Be A Weenie,” Part II: Our Craven, Terrorism-Validating Theater Chains

Or maybe not...

Or maybe not…

[Part I is here]

Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex, Bow Tie Cinemas, Carmike and AMC Theatres will not show “The Interview” because the North Korea-based hackers that breached Sony Pictures Entertainment e-mail security threatened movie theaters and moviegoers who attend screenings of the satire. More theater circuits are expected to follow, because terrorism works especially well against weenies.

Leading the way for this disgusting weenieism display were first, Sony itself, which reportedly toned down the film in response to earlier threats from the group, and then the stars of the comedy, James Franco and Seth Rogan. They both cancelled all their publicity appearances and are evidently hiding under their beds, caving to the dictates of unknown critics who are almost certainly not in the country. Oooh, but they’re so scary!

First they stole emails from Sony executives to retaliate for the comedy’s story line, which involves an assassination attempt on the life of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un by two morons. Then the group issued a warning referencing 9-11 and warning Americans, to stay away from theaters showing “The Interview”:

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”

Or All your base are belong to us.

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Aaron Sorkin

“You want the truth? Well, you can’t have the truth because I’ve decided that it isn’t newsworthy!”

“I understand that news outlets routinely use stolen information. That’s how we got the Pentagon Papers, to use an oft-used argument. But there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers. Do the emails contain any information about Sony breaking the law? No. Misleading the public? No. Acting in direct harm to customers, the way the tobacco companies or Enron did? No. Is there even one sentence in one private email that was stolen that even hints at wrongdoing of any kind? Anything that can help, inform or protect anyone? The co-editor in chief of Variety tells us he decided that the leaks were — to use his word — “newsworthy.” I’m dying to ask him what part of the studio’s post-production notes on Cameron Crowe’s new project is newsworthy. So newsworthy that it’s worth carrying out the wishes of people who’ve said they’re going to murder families and who have so far done everything they’ve threatened to do. Newsworthy. As the character Inigo Montoya said in “The Princess Bride,” I do not think it means what you think it means.”

—-Acclaimed screenwriter, playwright and Hollywood liberal Aaron Sorkin, reprimanding the news media  for publishing material from the Sony computer hacks in an Op-Ed in the New York Times.

There are many other titles for this post I considered, like “Jaw-dropping Hypocrisy of the Month,” “Self-serving Delusion of the Month,” and “This Is The Tragedy of Partisan Delusion: Won’t You Give Generously To Help Aaron”?

I’ve got to give the man credit: it takes world class gall for to write something like this self-serving for international consumption. Self-righteous, Freedom of the Press-promoting (Sorkin is the creator and writer of “The Newsroom” series on cable) Hollywood liberals applauded and screamed for blood when a near-senile billionaire’s private comments made in his own bedroom were surreptitiously recorded by his paid female mistress and plastered all over the media, because the private, private, private words suggested that he held racist attitudes, and no matter what he actually did (which was sufficient to be named an NAACP “man of the Year,” a distinction Aaron Sorkin has never earned),  that meant that he had to be publicly humiliated, fined millions and stripped of his business. We didn’t hear Sorkin protesting that this wasn’t newsworthy. Nor did the Sorkins of an earlier generation protest when the very same newspaper carrying his essay published criminally stolen Defense Department documents that, whatever was contained in them, were part of a sincere effort to win a war. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, War and the Military

Unethical (and Cynical) Donation Of The Year: The St. Louis Rams’ Forgiveness Bribe To The Backstoppers

"Agreed, then: you can call us racist murderers, as long as you keep the donations coming...."

“Agreed, then: you can call us racist murderers, as long as you keep the donations coming….”

Let us be undiplomaticly clear about what the five St. Louis Rams players did when they came onto the field at the start of a Monday Night Football games with their hands in the air like the fictional, idealized, sanitized, imaginary and politically useful version of Michael Brown—you know: the angelic young college-bound African-American male who did nothing whatsoever to cause the circumstances of his own death.

The players were saying, on national television, with millions of people watching, that Officer Darren Wilson executed Mike Brown in cold blood; that the St. Louis police do such things, want to do such things, and will do such things, because they routinely target young black men for harm; and that police generally, around the nation, are virulent racists. That’s what the gesture meant, and that is what it was devised to convey. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Charity, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race, Sports

Ethics Quiz: The Harvard Prof and The Erroneous Chinese Restaurant Menu

Perfect! Just what you need to handle that pesky flea, Professor!

Perfect! Just what you need to handle that pesky flea, Professor!

Ben Edelman, a rather well-noted Harvard Business School professor, had this fascinating exchange with a local Szechuan restaurant:

Edelman 1Edelman 2Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:

“Is Prof. Edelman’s conduct ethical?”

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet, Workplace

Signature Significance Verdict: Lena Dunham Is An Awful Human Being

 UPDATED!

Yechh.

Yechh.

If her boasting about abusing her little sister in her memoir wasn’t enough, Lena Dunham’s revealed conduct regarding “Barry” in the same tome rings the signature significance bell. No human being with a sufficient amount of decency would do something like this, even once.

In case you have not followed the latest ethics scandal involving the over-praised creator and star of HBO’s “Girls,” what occurred is this:

In one chapter of Dunham’s memoir “Not That Kind of Girl,” the feminist actress describes as factual an episode of sexual assault or rape that she says she experienced while an undergraduate at Oberlin. Her assailant was a well-known campus “Republican,” she says, a conservative whom she refers to as Barry—without the conventional quotes that would indicate a pseudonym.

There was, as it happens,  a real Oberlin college graduate from the same period named Barry, then well-known as a conservative, which then as now, is a species about as common at Oberlin as velociraptors. Besides his name and campus reputation, Barry fit some of the other details given by Dunham, such as wearing cowboy boots and sporting a flamboyant mustache. Now the 28-year-old man (the same age as Dunham)  is being tarred as a rapist, and has been forced to take down his social media accounts. He has hired a lawyer named Aaron Minc, with the help of donations from GoFundMe to help pay his legal fees, and has promised that any money he receives from the suit exceeding legal fees will go to charities assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Dunham has not had the courage or decency to say anything, to or about Barry. But yesterday Random House did, in an extraordinary statement and admission: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement

Ray Rice’s Indefinite Suspension By The NFL Has Been Overruled On Appeal. GOOD!

You have to be fair to bad guys too, you see.

Ray Rice and sparring partner.

Ray Rice and sparring partner.

If you will recall, the NFL levied a paltry two game suspension on Baltimore Raven’s star last summer, following his guilty plea for knocking his then fiancée, now wife, colder than a mackerel with a punch in her face. Then security camera video of the punch, in a casino elevator, ended up on TMZ in September, and public outrage against the NFL’s casual approach to domestic violence became a public relations crisis for pro football, which has too many already.

In response, Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered a do-over, this time suspending the player indefinitely while Rice’s team, the Ravens, fired him. The NFL’s risible claim was that while Rice had admitted that he hit the love of his life so hard that he rendered her unconscious, they never suspected that he really, really hit her until they saw the video.

As I wrote at the time:

Sports stars who engage in criminal behavior should be penalized heavily by their teams and leagues, to leave no question about their special status as paid heroes and pop culture role models and their obligations to honor that status. Rice’s conduct was especially significant, given the prevalence of domestic abuse in this country. The NFL, however, had its shot, made its statement, disgraced itself and let him get off easy. Rice hasn’t done anything since then worthy of punishment. The league and Rice’s team should have to live with their initial decisions, no matter how much criticism they received for them. The overly lenient punishment should stand as symbolizing how outrageously tolerant society, and especially male dominated cultures like pro football, are of this deadly conduct. Treating the video as if it constituted new evidence of something worse is unfair and ridiculous: yes, you morons, this is what domestic abuse looks like!

Rice [I originally said “Peterson” here, getting my violent NFL players mixed up] appealed through the player’s union, and yesterday a judge agreed with him, the union, and me, writing:

“In this arbitration, the NFL argues that Commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time. Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated…I find that the NFLPA carried its burden of showing that Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary…The Commissioner needed to be fair and consistent in his imposition of discipline….Moreover, any failure on the part of the League to understand the level of violence was not due to Rice’s description of the event but to the inadequacy of words to convey the seriousness of domestic violence. That the League did not realize the severity of the conduct without a visual record also speaks to their admitted failure in the past to sanction this type of conduct more severely.”

Yup. That just about covers it.

I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that the NFL’s lawyers advised the league that this would be the end result if they tried to punish Rice for the same act twice. The NFL decided that it was worth it to abuse its power and look like it was trying to end Rice’s career so after a successful appeal, it could say, “Well, we tried to do the right thing, and that mean old judge wouldn’t let us! Don’t blame us.”

Anyone who falls for that act is a fool. The real lesson of this ugly sequence is that the NFL’s culture doesn’t recognize right and wrong, or care about either. It’s only concern is TV ratings,  marketing and profits.

 

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Romance and Relationships, Sports, U.S. Society

Note To Advertisers: Babies Are Not Props. Do You Really Need To Have That Explained To You?

Let’s take a little break from the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, picking up passengers so fast that I can’t keep up with the manifest, and let Bill Cosby hide for a while, as suddenly all sorts of associates and colleagues are finally admitting that he wasn’t such a nice guy even when he wasn’t raping actresses, and focus on some child abuse—but funny child abuse!

Here’s a recent Halos recent commercial:

Wrong. This is an extreme example, but I frequently see infants being used—that’s the clue, “being used”—in TV shows, ads and movies featuring environments and  conditions that have to be stressful. Making babies cry to sell products or tell a story is unethical: they haven’t consented, they are helpless, and doing this to them is an abuse of power. It is also cruel.

How could a set full of techs and actors not feature any faint ringing of a single ethics alarm while a baby was duct taped to the back of a door? One disturbing sidebar to this “funny video”: some idiots have actually done this:

Go ahead, Halos, give those happy child abusers out there some new ideas.

This one was flagged by child actor advocate, and my friend, Paul Petersen, who has taken action to make sure Halo doesn’t engage in this kind of abuse again.

Babies aren’t props. They are human beings, This shouldn’t have to be taught to any adult, but it obviously does.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising