Category Archives: Workplace

Oscar Ethics 2015: The Unforgivable Dishonoring Of Maureen O’Hara

maureen ohara

Usually I follow the Oscars telecast with a post on the recently deceased actors and actresses the Academy unfairly snubs in its annual “In Memoriam” session. There is no excuse for robbing anyone of a last bow and farewell, despite the repeated claim that there “just isn’t enough time” to squeeze everyone in. Last night that dishonest excuse for disrespect and incompetence was rendered more absurd than ever: If there’s time for the longest, slowest, most repetitious speech yet by an Academy official, if there’s time for not one but two inappropriate political rants on the podium by award-winners, if there’s time for so many songs that the show seemed more like the Grammys than the Oscars, then there’s time to flash a couple more faces for a second or two.

This year, the omissions were minimal compared to recent years. I noticed the absence of Richard Kiel (1939-2014),

Jaws

…the giant actor who was best known for playing the James Bond villain “Jaws” in two films, as well as less celebrated monsters, aliens and goons. Marcia Strassman, (1948-2014),

Strassman

who made few films (she was predominantly a TV actress (“Welcome Back, Kotter”), but who was the co-star (with Rick Moranis) of the Disney hits, “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Honey I Blew Up The Kid,” also deserved inclusion, and Polly Bergen (1930-2014)

Polly Bergen

…who played the terrorized lawyer’s wife in the original “Cape Fear”(portrayed by Jessica Lange in the Scorsese re-make) and had significant roles in several other films, was a bad omission.

Because Twitter users are about 12 or have the memories of mayflies, there was much indignation last night over the absence of Joan Rivers and former SNL standout Jan Hooks. I’d leave the appreciations of both to the Emmys, especially Rivers. A couple cameos and doing the voice of the C3PO parody in “Spaceballs” doesn’t constitute a film career, and snarky red carpet interviews are not movie-making.

Those snubs pale in significance, however, to the disrespect shown by the academy not only to one of its all-time great stars, but to its own history, in the treatment of actress Maureen O’Hara. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, History, Popular Culture, Workplace

Refining The Race-Baiting Scale

 

Untitled Race cards

I am slowly updating and expanding the resources on Ethics Alarms, including adding some of the tools that I have initiated on the blog but never put on the home page to accompany the much-used Rationalization List and the Apology Scale. I thought one of these was a race-baiting scale, as I referred to one, dubbed “The Knight Scale,” here and here. I discovered, however, that I had just given numbers to a few examples of race-baiting along least bad-to-worst spectrum without specifying specific varieties of race-baiting for each.

This was a major failing, and I apologize. Race-baiting has been one of the primary features of public discourse embedded in our culture by having a black President, was well as one with so many unscrupulous race-obsessed supporters and so much evidence of incompetence and dishonesty to try to defend. Its widespread use, tacitly approved if not orchestrated by the White House, has also contributed to the vastly deteriorating race-relations in the U.S., along with the racial distrust and anger fueling it. I have stated, and strongly believe, that this will be, above all else, Barack Obama’s legacy. The tragedy this represents cannot be over-stated.

I am offering now and belatedly a draft Race-Baiting Scale, running from 1, the least offensive and significant form of race baiting, to 11, the worst and most unethical. I offer it for comment and refinement to the Ethics Alarms readers. Two notes: 1) All entries are based on the assumption that no actual racist or bigoted conduct has occurred, and 2) It is stipulated that all actual racist conduct or bias is unethical and should be called out and condemned.

The Race-Baiting Scale

(DRAFT) Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Race, U.S. Society, Workplace

Ethics Quiz: Honoring The Dead and Deadly Team Mate

Taveras

When they take the field in Spring Training and for the rest of the 2015 baseball season, the St. Louis Cardinals will be wearing a memorial patch reading “OT” in honor of outfielder Oscar Taveras, the 22-year-old budding star outfielder who died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic last October. Such mourning patches have become common since 1972, when the Pittsburgh Pirates moved beyond the traditional black armband to a personalized patch following the tragic death of the team’s Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente in a plane crash, as he was flying humanitarian aid to Nicaragua.

Taveras, however, unlike Clemente, died in an act of reckless stupidity that took not only his own life but that of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, as well. Toxicology tests showed that his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit before the crash. situation is more complex because toxicology tests showed that his blood alcohol level at the time of his death was five times the legal limit. Moreover, Taveras’, also was killed in the crash. If Taveras had lived and Arvelo alone had died, he would have been prosecuted for manslaughter.

And thus your first Ethics Alarms Baseball Ethics Quiz of 2015 is this:

Is it ethical for the Cardinals to publicly honor Taveras with a uniform patch?

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, Workplace

Ethics Dunce: The Washington Post

Better yet, just THINK...

Better yet, just THINK…

Here is another reason Why Our Children Will Grow Up To Be Cheats And Liars: ethically obtuse thinking like that expressed by the Washington Post editors this morning.

The Jackie Robinson West Little League team was stripped of its national title for a very good reason: it had an unfair advantage over its competition, so its victory was corrupt. Its coach and administrators cheated, manipulating league boundaries to assemble a team fortified by “ringers.” The victory didn’t count because the victory was a sham. The team wasn’t playing by the rules. This is not a difficult concept, or shouldn’t be.

Yet the Post’s editors are aghast, writing, “The fact is they punished a group of children who did everything right, on and off the field — punished them for the sins of adults who did wrong and an organization that was willfully oblivious.”

Yup. That’s the way life works. That’s the way it has to work and has always worked, and the sooner children learn that lesson, the less likely they are to grow up as ethically muddled as the adults who write Post editorials. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Sports, Workplace

Ethics Quote of The Month: Fired Sony Executive Amy Pascal

Good for you, Amy.

Good for you, Amy.

“Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and say, ‘Can I give you some more?’ Because that’s not what you do when you run a business. The truth is, what women have to do is not work for less money. They have to walk away. People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs. … People should know what they’re worth.”

—Recently fired—because of those hacked e-mails—Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal, in an interview with journalist Tina Brown at the Women in the World conference in San Francisco. She was addressing her e-mails revealing that actress Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in “American Hustle.”

Take that, “77 cents for every dollar”!

My least favorite deceitful statistic took it on the chin with Pascal’s candid and accurate statement, and she ranks Ethics Hero status not just for saying it, but saying it in front of an audience full of women who have supported the lie while cheering and voting for politicians who repeat it.

A large chunk of the disparity between the salaries of men and women for the same jobs is not the product of bias or discrimination, but the natural consequences of females being raised to be less assertive, with lower self-esteem, and their resulting poor negotiating skills. Pascal is placing responsibility squarely where it belongs. This has been one more example of a traditionally mistreated group relying on victim-mongering rather than focusing on personal responsibility, accountability and honesty to address what is well within their power to fix.

Brava, Amy Pascal!

If Sony had any sense or principals, it would give you your job back.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Workplace

The Strange And Unethical Case Of The Aging, Ageless, Part-Time Actress

Cheer up, Junie! Remember the sage words of the great Satchel Paige: “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you was?”

Cheer up, Junie! Remember the sage words of the great Satchel Paige: “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you was?”

In October of 2011, Ethics Alarms offered an Ethics Quiz that asked, “Did the Internet Movie Data Base do anything unethical by publishing the actress’s real age without her permission?” The occasion was a lawsuit asking for over a million dollars in damages by an anonymous film actress who claimed that Amazon’s Internet Movie Data Base harmed her career by researching and publishing her real age without her permission. My conclusion at the time was that Actress X was

“shooting at the wrong villain. If there is age discrimination in Hollywood, confront it: a number shouldn’t disqualify her from any roles at all. I am not saying that fighting such a long-standing tradition in the show business culture isn’t a daunting task, but that’s the real problem, not a web service that conveys information about movies and movie stars by publishing facts.”

Well, it’s almost four years later, this dubious case has wound its way to trial, and we are now learning some fascinating things: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet, Workplace

Brian Williams’ Suspension

smoke-n-mirror

Nope.

This is smoke and mirrors.

From Politico:

“NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has been suspended for six months without pay following his false claims about an experience he had during the Iraq war, NBC News president Deborah Turness announced Tuesday night.”

Observations:

1.  An untrustworthy anchorman does not turn into a trustworthy one because he hasn’t worked for 6 months.

2. NBC apparently thinks, or hopes the public will think, that the issue is punishing Williams. Undoubtedly, there are (ethically obtuse, ignorant) people who think this way, but the issue is trust. Williams has shown, by lying to the public for more than a decade about his Iraq experience and probably more, that he cannot be trusted to do what his job requires: truthfully and reliably telling the public what happens in the world.

3. That an organization allegedly dedicated to broadcast journalism doesn’t understand that, or worse, does understand it and will retain an untrustworthy anchor anyway because he might still be profitable—after the heat is off, that is—is an indictment of that organization’s lack of courage, integrity, honesty, professionalism, and respect for its audience.

4. NBC says that its investigation of Williams will continue. I think it is possible, even likely, that he will not return. That means that this half-measure’s main result may be to mark NBC as a cynical, venal organization for which journalism is neither a calling nor a profession, but a sham and a profit center.

5. We will see if NBC’s audience is as gullible, foolish, and easily manipulated as this action suggests the network believes it is. If viewers just return to Williams like sheep, it is difficult to see why any news organization would value honesty and integrity, since its market doesn’t.

UPDATES (2/11)

From Althouse:“I guess they want to see if we’ll forget why he left and start wondering why he’s gone, so they can bring him back. That’s all very lame and pathetic, and I don’t watch the nightly news, so there’s a limit to my outrage about NBC’s wan interest in the truth.”

From Ruth Marcus (WaPo): “Some discussion of Williams’s fate has involved his central role at NBC and whether the network could “afford” to lose its most recognizable franchise. This is the network version of “too big to fail” — that Williams is too important to can. I see it the opposite way: Williams’s elevated status subjects him to a higher standard of behavior, and more rigorous consequences. The face of NBC News cannot afford to be so scarred.”

 

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society, Workplace