Ethics Hero: Liev Schreiber, an Actor Who Understands the Duty to Act

The rescue situation is finally beginning to come into focus. If you are in need to be rescued in a public venue, you don’t want to have to depend on the rapid response of off-duty EMT’s or the assistance of on-duty security personnel. No, what you need nearby is a good, professional, quick-thinking, courageous Broadway actor.

Liev Schreiber, the star of the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s drama “A View From the Bridge,” rushed to the aid of an audience member who lost consciousness during a performance. The man’s wife began screaming for help, and when the theater house lights were turned on, Schrieber could be seen emerging from backstage and running down the aisle to where the unconscious man was sitting. The actor tried to offer aid to him until a physician emerged from the audience, and eventually the stricken audience member was placed in the care of paramedics.

How come an actor decided to take on the responsibility and liability risk of trying to help a stranger in distress,  when professionals in the security and rescue fields failed to do so in recent high-profile incidents? Schrieber wasn’t even on stage when the incident occurred; nobody would have criticized him if he had done nothing. The actor responded because his instincts told him that trying to help was the right thing to do, and if everybody waited for someone else to do something, a human being might perish.  At such times there is an ethical duty to act.

What Schrieber did is exactly how we all should aspire to react in such situations, as we would want others to react if we were the ones in distress. Liev Schrieber wasn’t just playing the role of an Ethics Hero. He is one.

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