The Reasonable, Ethical Firing of Maria Conchita Alonso

V_logo_currenteventsOnce again we confront a variation of the “Duck Dynasty” issue of entertainers losing their jobs over their expression of political, religious or other opinions that have nothing to do with their performances.

Actress María Conchita Alonso, who has been an outspoken advocate of conservative  policies on occasion, was recruited by the camp of the Tea Party candidate for governor of California, Tim Donnelly, to appear in a campaign video.  Donnelly is a hardliner on illegal immigration, or as supporters of open borders and stolen U.S. benefits of citizenship like to call it to blur the issues, “undocumented workers.”  Following the ad’s debut, many Hispanic residents of San Francisco protested and threatened to boycott the Brava Theater Center’s production of a Spanish-language version of “The Vagina Monologues,” which was starred the actress.

Not any more. Alonso “resigned”from the cast—actually she was the cast, since “The Vagina Monologues” is a one actress show—which means she was forced to quit or be fired. “We really can’t have her in the show, unfortunately,” Eliana Lopez, the producer of the show scheduled to run at Brava, which lies in the heavily Hispanic Mission District of Frisco, told reporters. “Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe.”

Lopez really should have shut up, as her statement was more objectionable than the firing. There is, or should be, no enforced “we believe” group conformity in America, and if a Hispanic citizen thinks that individuals who skipped the formalities required by law to get into the U.S. should be returned to their homeland to do it legally, and shouldn’t be allowed to hold jobs, get tuition, drive cars and practice law until they do, that shouldn’t make such citizens pariahs in their communities, especially since they are, you know, right. Is Lopez saying that you can’t be a Hispanic in the Mission and not be a lock-step Democrat? Sounds like Hollywood.

Disgust with this rationale is the basis of a noisy  back-lash against Alonso’s firing from conservative blogs and commentators. Here’s the problem: She was foolish and unprofessional, and I would have fired her too. She is a veteran professional actress of some note, and doesn’t come cheap. Audiences don’t pay money to see one actress shows—especially lousy ones, like “The Vagina Monologues,” a one-gimmick feminist pander—if they don’t like the actress or what she stands for, and I would expect Alonso to know that. Agreeing to star in the production, knowing that her audience would be overwhelmingly Hispanic and pro-illegal immigrant and then making a high-profile ad for an anti-illegal political candidate was reckless and foolish, and bordered on sabotage. Yes, she has every right to support whatever positions and candidates she chooses, but trading on her celebrity to take a position unpopular with her likely audience while also offering that same celebrity as a selling point of the Brava Theater’s production—which is why the company paid big bucks to hire her—was irresponsible, indeed stupid. She asked to be fired. The community reaction to the ad was completely predictable.

Note that this was not the case with the recent flap over Phil Robertson’s interview in GQ. Nothing the “Duck Dynasty” scion said should have been a surprise to the show’s audience. He was momentarily and pusillanimously dumped by A&E in response to a protest from people who would never turn to that show, for fear of missing the latest nuggets of wisdom from Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz. The Brava firing, in contrast, was completely reasonable.


Sources: LA Times, Daily CallerHuffington Post


63 thoughts on “The Reasonable, Ethical Firing of Maria Conchita Alonso

    • Because it benefits them and their relatives, and because they have the voting bloc to get cowardly policy-makers to let them get away with it. There is no fair, objective, honest, reasonable argument why the U.S. should permit illegal immigration, and never has been. The argument now is that we might as well legalize the illegals already here, because there are too many to deport. THAT, unfortunately, is true.

      • Too many to deport? Who said that we need to deport them in order to get rid of them? It’s called cutting off the handouts and they will go home by attrition. We already know it will work because a few years ago, the liberal press was writing about how 1 million illegal immigrants left since the economy tanked. Thus, if we make employing them illegal (and punishable by jail not fines the CEO’s will just pay &laugh off), the problem will take care of itself.

    • 1) Obviously, if they are illegal themselves or have friends/family who are illegals, they are more likely to support it. It’s the unethical consideration that, if breaking this law is good for me/ my friends, it must be a bad law.

      2) Even if they have no direct connection to any illegal immegrants, many Hispanics support it because Hispanics are the most visible group of illegal immigrants (disclaimer: I have no idea what percentage of illegals are Hispanic, but I think most would agree that when you hear “illegal immigrant” you think Hispanic). They may see all Hispanics as “my people,” putting it back in the realm of my first point, or they may buy into the propaganda that it’s somehow racist to favor strong immigration policy, or just to enforce the actual laws that are actually being broken.

      • Isn’t it unethical for a country that was founded by hard-working, go-getting immigrants (and made great through continued waves) to make it so difficult for more waves to arrive?

        (And let’s be clear, I am talking about the ones who have the balls, will, and smarts to get here on their own merits).

        • Sure,

          If America made it difficult for hard-working, go-getting immigrants to arrive.

          It doesn’t.

          It has a perfectly fine system of immigration, in fact we probably have the most generous immigration laws IN THE WORLD and I vaguely recall reading that we admit more LEGAL immigrants to our nation than all the other nations combined.

          We just don’t like the people who don’t use the system to get in. That implies they hold our laws in contempt. Why would we want those people here?

          • That’s complete load of tripe.

            I’m a molecular biologist. I have worked in labs in Ivy league Universities where there are extremely good postdoctoral researchers who cannot get any sort of permanent residency. Visas are limited and these and residency/citizenship are done on a quota basis (personally I think quotas are unethical too, especially quotas based on the country of origin).

            IFrom what I remember it took about 5-7 years for my friends to get citizenship, with everyone backing them. I certainly don’t call this a generous immigration policy (where would we be without the intellect that fled Germany for a start).

            And you’re rationalising “it’s better than everyone else”. That’s no better than “everyone does it”. Considering the history of this country it seems awfully hypocritical to me.

            (Personally I actually believe in limiting immigration (from a practical standpoint), I do believe however that its ethics are rather dubious).

            • Oh, and as an addendum, very very few natural born Americans want to work in University labs (or frankly, even get a PhD), because they extremely overworked and underpaid (compared to their intellectual peers in other industries). I would estimate that well over 70% of postdocs in the US are foreign born, and they find it nigh on impossible to “immigrate”. In fact with some of the visas (H-1s I believe), they’re not allowed to apply for residency citizenship while working on that visa.

              • Too true.

                The Grey Lady is doing her job looking sideways (objectively?) at Obamacare and several sides of the visa/citizenship issues.

            • Quotas are a direct result of the 1986 amnesty. Welcome to the world of “we’ll waive the law and the consequences be damned.”

        • “(And let’s be clear, I am talking about the ones who have the balls, will, and smarts to get here on their own merits).”

          Ridiculous standards.

          Ability to break laws and craftily slip past security measures do not translate into productive and civic member of the community.

          • You’re putting subtext in there that wasn’t there. I was thinking of all the Eastern European immigrants in the 20s and 30s. For modern equivalents I’m not sure.

            But certainly some of the illegal imigrants give up an awful lot to try and make their family’s life better. That (and solely that) is surely to be admired. Whether their subsequent illegal actions negate that is a moral rather than ethical question I think.
            You’re also making a huge assumption that breaking a single law (entering illegally) automatically makes them less likely to be productive members of the community than all the lazy oafs that were born here. I’m not sure I agree. (I’m ignoring for a moment some of the other laws they they necessarily must break to remain hidden).

            But breaking the law is certainly breaking the law. But this blog is surely about ethics and not legalities. I’d also add that anyone who employs them is surely acting even less ethically.

        • I actually do think there are some ridiculous parts of our immigration law that should be fixed, but the solution isn’t just wholesale ignoring the law.

    • Just for the record, I’m Hispanic, in the US legally and I abhor illegal immigration. Among other things it’s made my journey through the immigration system much longer than it had to be (see quotas and 1986 amnesty). And I also don’t understand why a majority of Hispanic legal immigrants support illegal immigration – to the point where voicing my opinion at social gatherings makes me an outcast.

  1. It’s not terribly relevant to the ethics issue, but when I saw the play years ago in college, it was performed by many different women – splitting up the parts of the original one woman show into separate monologues, I assume. I thought this was the usual, if not the original, way of staging the show. The article itself doesn’t say it was a one woman staging – are you sure that it was? The impact on the show of keeping her on or firing her is diluted otherwise, though as I said that doesn’t change the core analysis much.

    • I’m not sure it was. The original was a one-woman version—it is indeed often split up. I made a mild effort to determine which the Brava was using, but it’s not really important to the post. As written, it’s a one-actor show. You could do “Mark Twain Tonight” with multiple actors, too…

          • I was lucky enough to seee Hal Holbrook in this role a couple of years ago at a show in Newport News, Virginia at Christopher Newport University. Val Kilmer doesn’t come close.

            • A Day Without a Mexican, 2004: satirical look at the consequences of all the Mexicans — descendants of 16th century land barons to “illegals” — in Los Angeles suddenly disappearing. One of those films you wish hadn’t been made because the premise tickles the imagination so wonderfully. What price home truths encased in slow-release, sugar-coated capsules?

  2. I disagree that Alonso “asked to be fired,” and further disagree that her actions were foolish, unprofessional, reckless, and bordering on sabotage. (Your use of “bordering” and “sabotage” were entertainingly ironic – but then, that may be only because of how my mind migrates.)

    Please explain how Alonso’s action of openly supporting a candidate of a political minority is any different from someone’s sexual “coming out” amidst a “bigoted” or otherwise hostile community – or a pro-amnesty advocate’s speaking out amidst a vast majority of anti-illegal-immigration people who support “round-em-up-and-deport-em-all” policies. Also, please explain how Alonso’s employer is not practicing unethically cruel, capricious discrimination against her.

    • You seem to be intentionally obtuse here. Her actions irresponsibly undermined her employer’s project and its prospects for success. She could have made her stand before the play was cast (and thus never been considered for the job) or waited until the production was over (thus not harming box office.) How you can make the argument that what she did was anything but irresponsible and dumb is beyond me absent a persuasive and non-obvious argument you have to to provide. Walk me through that, if you would.

      • At this point I will ask, what is the ethical way to make such a stand once she was involved in the production. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that:
        a.) She believes standing against illegal immigration is the ethical course of action.
        b.) She was given the opportunity to collaborate with the candidate after she was cast.
        c.) She has never hidden her political affiliations from her current employer (a quick google search may be enlightening?)

        Would it be ok then to resign the production and then make the endorsement? Why is this ethically better (less irresponsible) than what she did? What if someone unearthed her previous political stances and used them to kickstart the protest to get her fired, is she irresponsible in any way then?

        I’m just not fully convinced she was irresponsible. She took a stand, faced the consequences and as far as I can tell is not playing the victim – if she then says her First Amendment rights are being violated I’ll shut up. 🙂

        • I do agree with Jack that it was easily forseeable- Eeyoure’s contentions that she would have to be clairvoyant notwithstanding. Assuming that your circumstances are accurate (she was cast and THEN was faced with the opportunity to collaborate) I think the ethical act would have been to approach the director and explain her decision. This would give the director a chance to decide on a response to the totally forseeable audience reaction, whether that was keeping Alonso on or allowing her to bow out, out of the public eye and with no blindsiding involved.

          • Foreseeable or not, and hypotheticals and speculations aside, Alonso is a classic victim of bigotry. Especially so, if the reasoning goes: She should have known her place, so she got what she deserved.

            That uppity TEA Party supporter! Just like that slut who got raped…

          • And this director would have said: You can make the ad, or you can stay in the show, but if you make the ad after signing a contract with us (that will typically include a promise not to do anything that is not in the best interests of the production), 1) you are out and 2) I will do all I can to discourage anyone in this profession from trusting you again.

            • Which is probably what she would have expected. I do question how ethical it is to pull the “you’ll never work in this town again” canard, though.

              • It’s not a canard, and it’s proper cultural control. Double-crossing a production is the #1 sin for an actor, and all companies need to enforce the stricture that it won’t be tolerated by the community. I have no problem telling an actor who is ready to break a contract that I will make sure he has to leave the area to get another one. Similarly, actors need to warn talent which companies will screw them over, as many will.

                Theater-owners, producers and directors are obligated to warn colleagues about destructive personnel. Nothing wrong about that. It you choose to hire someone who walked out on a cast, then fine—you were warned, and you’ll get what you bargain for.

        • “At this point I will ask, what is the ethical way to make such a stand once she was involved in the production.”

          None. Agreeing to complete a job often requires the postponement of other activities. She could contribute to the anti-illegal immigration cause in many ways without undermining the production she had accepted money to support.

          • Quite an absolutist position there (surprising from you, but your involvement in theater sure influences how you read the situation). From my point of view she is not being unethical by taking advantage of an opportunity to support the political position that upholds the law.

            Say she witnessed a Hispanic-looking youth shoplifting at a convenience store. By coming forward as a witness she’s likely to get him into trouble and have him deported as a consequence. Cue outrage from the usual suspects, etc. Her involvement would certainly hurt the production as much as anything she has done so far. Yet in this case helping uphold the law would definitely trump any commitments to the production. If you disagree let me know why.

            By any calculus, electing a politician that supports the law as written will do more for it than acting as witness at a criminal trial. She is in a particularly good position to make a larger impact given her origins. Waiting until the production is over may not be a possibility for the campaign. While I am almost certain this line of reasoning is not what she’s following, her choice and actions are ethical even if her motives are not.

            I could even make the case that her ethics are exemplary, as she is sacrificing money and risks being blacklisted to promote and support enforcement of the law. (Letting the director/producer/CEO be blindsided was a dunce move though.)

            • Priorities and hierarchy. When you agree to a contact, you are no longer a free agent. She’s not sacrificing her money, she’s sacrificing the theater’s—nothing ethical about that. And depending on the timing, it’s not as if they can replace her without harming the show. She also was paid for the ad, presumably. Double-dipping?

              • I’m assuming she’s not getting paid for the play anymore (her money), and the contract should have a provision for that. The fact that the company is losing money too makes the situation a no-win scenario. Either the production flops or her principles are compromised (ethics conflict). If she’s been paid for the ad she should turn down that money – or give it to charity or something – taking it makes her voluble and opportunistic. I don’t know if she is, but in the scale from dunces to heroes most people fall somewhere in the middle (don’t take this as a rationalization, just a plain fact).

                Maybe the problem is that she was miscast – if her political positions were known and likely to affect ticket sales it should have been a consideration by the casting director, right? On this last point I’m being facetious, but just as they were not a consideration for choosing her for the role they should not be consideration for her continued performance. This goes back to not having to agree to the politics of artists (see Penn, Sean; Fonda, Jane or Card, Orson Scott for the other end of the spectrum) to enjoy their product. (Side bar: Is boycotting the production for the lead’s politics ethical?) The risk was (or could have been) known when she was chosen and one cannot expect core principles to be compromised when because a contract was signed. If my employer threatened to fire me for contributing to anti-abortion causes they would be staring down the business end of a lawsuit (maybe not, but you see where this slippery slope leads).

                TL/DR: She signed a contract to play a part, not a pact with the Devil giving away her autonomy.

                • I am not a lawyer but i see this comment didn’t get a response. As I understand it:

                  Private principles can be given up in contracts, statutory or consitutional rights cannot. If the contract says you get nude on stage you cannot claim reborn Christian status to deflect the imposition of the terms. But if the contract required an actor to lie, play a part, in a court room under oath that would not be enforceable.

                  If the contract stipulates or implies that you volunteer temporarily to restrain your expression of free speech you do so. If the contract stipulates that you only say what you are told to say, on and off stage, in public and private, for the remainder of your life that would probably be legally invalid and unethical. Understand me, I’m not saying actors never get caught in that bind, living a lie for the press, but when present that conduct is voluntary, not enforceable by contract.

                  Yes, it all depends on the nature of the contract but as you imply it is unheard of for an actor to have such a pull at the box office that she can set her own terms as far as hurting the returns of the production go. ‘Diva’ conduct is, however, well known….

                  If the actor had made a contract with the Devil (that did not breach statute or constitution) law enthusiasts would support the Devil in applying it.

      • You seem to insist that an employee must anticipate, clairvoyantly and precisely, how her speaking of her mind will risk an employer’s project – and in the absence of complete foreknowledge of the consequences of her actions, she must muzzle herself, just in case. You’re rationalizing the same garbage intolerance which has kept persons who illegally reside in the country in a twilight zone of poverty and hopelessness – but more recently, which has kept discussion of the limits of government agencies’ power and reach effectively censored while such power and reach have expanded to establish the one-party police state we currently suffer.

        It’s one thing to acknowledge the challenge that the producer faces, but it puzzles me that you don’t expect the producer to act ethically according to your point that there should be no “we believe” conformity enforcement. You seem intentionally sympathetic to mob rule in this case. Why are you not holding the producer accountable for not courageously facing the boycott-threatening bigots? The producer should say, in effect: “Screw you pseudo-progressives; Vagina Monologues aren’t meant for speaking to censorious douchebags like you, anyway. Go drink your over-taxed tea, piss up a rope and gag yourselves. The show will go on, with Alonso.”

        • In this particular case, it wouldn’t have required supernatural powers on her part to know what the reaction would be.

          As a matter of logic, Jack isn’t setting forth a universal rule here, just the opposite. He contrasted this case to the Duck Dynasty case in which he drew a different conclusion.

        • “You seem to insist that an employee must anticipate, clairvoyantly and precisely, how her speaking of her mind will risk an employer’s project – and in the absence of complete foreknowledge of the consequences of her actions, she must muzzle herself, just in case.”

          I do? She’s in a SPANISH language production in the Hispanic section of the most radical liberal city in the nation, in the state that just said that illegals could practice law, and you think she needs to be clairvoyant to figure out that opposing illegal immigration would lead to a backlash among the company’s likely audience?

          You really want to stand on that quicksand?

          • “You really want to stand on that quicksand?”

            You really want to insist that I’m standing on quicksand?

            You are either making unwarranted assumptions about Alonso, or withholding facts. Now, come on, Jack: You can’t seriously be saying that you have never met an actor or actress who has participated obliviously in activities that inherently involve conflicting interests, where the conflicts are obvious to you. Alonso does appear to have “blindsided” her employer at Brava Theater. Bad girl! What unprecedented, inexcusable failure! You interpret her actions as if suspicious that she was deliberately sabotaging the show. No: the more I ponder this case, the more sure I am that Alonso’s firing has been exploited for a publicity stunt to promote the show.

            But, it isn’t as if her firing was necessary to promote the show. I went to the Brava Theater website. “The Vagina Monologues” has played to rave reviews in packed houses in the other meccas of progressivism. (unless someone is lying) There is little reason to dread that the Brava Theater, in the Mission district of San Francisco, won’t be able to park an ass in every available seat (and none too few asses with vaginas, or semblances thereof), for every performance of The Vagina Monologues. A Spanish language version might attract a smaller audience overall, but still not small enough to fail to pack the house. And now, with the heretic Alonso purged with great fanfare (thanks, Fox News), don’t be surprised if there is a special, bonus “teach-in” for an opening to the show – some rant about the intolerable intolerance of “teabaggers.” Expect more “clever,” snide sideshows inside and outside the facility. Oh, it’ll be an extravaganza. Viva Las Vaginas! (God, Forgive my Bohemian ways – I know those people too well.)

            There is plenty of time for Alonso to be replaced, without turning the whole production upside-down. For that matter, it will just as likely be “the big break” for whoever replaces her.

            Frankly, Jack, it surprises me that you would not show a clearer sense of the zeitgeist, and such, particularly within the insular, politico-echo arts communities. Both Alonso and her former employer deserve more pity and petitioning for forgiveness, for “they know not what they do.”

            • 1. “You can’t seriously be saying that you have never met an actor or actress who has participated obliviously in activities that inherently involve conflicting interests, where the conflicts are obvious to you. Alonso does appear to have “blindsided” her employer at Brava Theater. Bad girl! What unprecedented, inexcusable failure! You interpret her actions as if suspicious that she was deliberately sabotaging the show.”

              A more blatant ‘everybody does it” rationalization I have seldom seen.

              2. I have never heard of a theater company promoting a production by who is NOT in the show. That’s ridiculous. People come to see shows because they are interested in the production, or want to see a star. Removing a star is never good publicity. Trust me on this.

              3. “There is little reason to dread that the Brava Theater, in the Mission district of San Francisco, won’t be able to park an ass in every available seat (and none too few asses with vaginas, or semblances thereof), for every performance of The Vagina Monologues. A Spanish language version might attract a smaller audience overall, but still not small enough to fail to pack the house.”

              Wow…you really don’t follow theater at all, do you? There is no such thing as a production that is a guaranteed hit, especially a 20 year old show like The Vagina Dialogues (you are taking theater promos as objective fact. Big mistake) Live theater is down 17% in box office from a year ago, and theater companies go broke every day. almost all of them are struggling, and couldn’t survive without charity and/or government support.

              • “A more blatant ‘everybody does it’ rationalization I have seldom seen.”

                No, you’re missing my point. *I* am not rationalizing Alonso’s behavior. I am pointing out how such behavior is ignored by theater executives and the like and rationalized by THEM – to the extent that it is tolerable and virtually expected practice: The “eccentric” or “iconoclast” must be honored, in deference to “celebrity.” The producer of TVM might have a solid ethical basis for firing Alonso, but following through and actually firing her is a notable enough exception as to question the selectivity – the rationalization for not rationalizing as usual. You seem to want to neglect that a certain b-word is applicable to Alonso’s firing; that little word ends in “-otry.”

                “I have never heard of a theater company promoting a production by who is NOT in the show.”

                Until now? A more blatant denial of the power of innovation I have seldom seen. (I am playing with you now.) If the production is so perilously close to going bust, then why NOT whip-up some good old rage in the more “issues-literate” communities, against the numb-minded masses of bumpkins who are too ignorant, lazy and simple to appreciate the PROFOUND and WORLD-CHANGING insights, and the crystal-clear, compelling, geometric proofs of How All Persons Must Think And Act, that are guaranteed to all who witness The Vagina Monologues?

                “Wow…you really don’t follow theater at all, do you?”

                a-HA! So THAT’s how you think I live…I support local theaters all. year. And I don’t mean, “I drop $7 once a month for a seniors’ early bird discount at the local movie multiplex.” If my health could ever get good enough, I would be auditioning continually for significant parts in one cast or another. And I’m well aware of the challenges of producing live theater. Which leads me to further suspicion: Perhaps the “en Español” version of TVM is indeed in such dire straits, that a scapegoat is necessary, as far as a month in advance. SUE THE BEAST!

                • This is just a wacky comment, E. Yes, the star syndrome is a curse, and theaters fall prey to it, and it is unethical. But it doesn’t apply here. And supporting theater, which I applaud, does not suggest that you have a clue how the ridiculous business works. My patrons give us quite a bit of money, and when the come to open rehearsals are shocked that the process is so complicated.

                  I cannot imagine anyone deciding to pay to see “the Vagina Monologues”—perhaps I should stop there—to express a protest against a Tea Party politician on immigration matters. There is no nexus there at all.

                  • “Wacky?”
                    Methinks thou dost dismisseth too much.
                    (Say that preceding sentence 3 times, as fast as you can. Hint: For success, emphasize MISS.)

                    So you think either…

                    • Booting the big-name cast member will prevent disastrously low attendance? or
                    • Booting her will cause a net negative, possibly disastrous, change in attendance? or
                    • Keeping her would have caused a boycott that would have suppressed attendance measurably, marginally lower than it would have been, had she never made the TP ad? or
                    • Keeping a controversial, contrarian cast member would NOT cause an enormous upsurge in theater-packing, willing-to-pay, spirited patrons and friends?

                    Each of those projections is WACKY. I don’t want to accuse you, but I am suspicious that you are tone-deaf to the culture of San Francisco, the Mission district, and “believers” who might need a nudge to come, see and hear TVM.

                    I could sulk away, hurt, now. But I will simply accept that I have failed here to impress upon you that I am more than just another clueless patron of live theater. Jeez! What do I have to do? Go to Frisco myself, to TVM at the Brava Theater in February, and whip out a pro-TEA Party sign? I’m thinking of something in Spanish that says something like, “Less Government, More Vaginas!” or “Long Live Wealth Inequality! Make Vaginas Wealthier!”

                    I’m going to follow Brava’s planned February run of TVM, en Español. I expect I’ll need a Spanish translator. (Got ’em.)

      • I’m not sure I believe it, but try this: if a mob acts unjustly, then is a business owner ethical or unethical to enable the mob and implement their agenda? (The answer might be “ethical” given the business’s obligations to employees and investors).

        That addresses the reasonableness and ethics of firing her, but not the ethics of her actions.

        Her actions foreseeably damaged the business of a customer. Is she the one ethically responsible for that, since she knew it was likely, or is the mob exclusively to blame?

        Let’s see, that still leave “irresponsible and dumb”. Your point there about her timing seems irrefutable.

      • So, then — the analysis isn’t about politics vs. business, but hinges on her having gone out of her way to kick her producer in the teeth?

  3. watch it, Jack — the Word Police have legal precedent, all the way back to 1918:


    Judge Mogan Rebukes Angeleno for Using Slang in His Petition for Divorce.

    Because he referred to this city as “Frisco” on four occasions while testifying before Judge Mogan yesterday in his petition for a divorce, Hal R. Hobbs, Los Angeles automobile dealer, was threatened with internment.

    “What do you mean by ‘Frisco’?” asked Judge Mogan.

    “Why, San Francisco, of course,” said Hobbs in surprise.

    “No one refers to San Francisco by that title except people from Los Angeles,” said the court. “I am the chairman of the County Council of Defense, and I warn you that you stand in danger of being interned as an alien enemy. Don’t do it again.”

  4. Here are a couple of questions — though a little off the mark.







      • I’ve given it some thought, Elizabeth I, and I do believe I can come up with at least two people I have known who don’t want to live in the United States. Actually, I don’t know all their names, but I think the number might be closer to oh 6 billion 476 million 501 thousand and 997. Have you thought about getting back on your meds?

  5. Jack — I agree with your analysis here, but I’m having trouble reconciling this with your post about the PR Director who put out the inane tweet. We can’t have an absolute right of free speech in private employment because — as you articulated above — it can adversely affect our employers.

    • One tweeted to a small group of followers scattered around the country, and was unfairly labelled a racist internationally by a cyber-lynch mob who didn’t even understand her meaning. The firm wasn’t wrong to fire her once she had been rendered a pariah, not by what she wrote, but by the reaction to it—the mob was wrong to get her fired.

      The actress, in contrast, did herself in: her endorsement was obviously going to affect the community where she was doing the play. I don’t think the threats and boycott was much better than the cyber-lynching, but it also wasn’t the sole reason for the firing—market research would have revealed that he political activity hurt the production. In one case, the mob created the reason for the firing; in the other, the mob just reflected it.

      • “[M]arket research would have revealed that the political activity hurt the production.”

        Really? Why and how? Will just any old why and how answers justify actions now, too, as long as it’s “market research” that reveals that any “political activity” hurts production of something?

        “[T]he mob just reflected [the reason for the firing].”

        What? Now you have proof that Alonso’s firing was NOT in cowardly response to the mob that threatened a boycott? Or…are you explaining the “everybody in the mob and the theater staff shared the same bigotry, so the firing was OK” rationalization?

        • If you have a community of Jack Marshalls, and the local professional theater company casts an actor who suddenly reveals himself to have been Alec Baldwin in disguise, it doesn’t matter whether the community of Jacks, who, it is well-understood, will gnaw their feet off rather than pay good money to watch Baldwin ply his craft, protests and threatens boycotts or not. The thetaer know is is toast if it goes through with the production without canning Baldwin. Same here. The protests just confirmed what the company knew anyway. In the case of the tweeting PR exec, it was the reaction and negative publicity, not her words, that got the woman fired. The people she dealt with normally wouldn’t have even known about the words, which didn’t concern them.

          The analogous incident:

          • “If you have a community of Jack Marshalls, and the local professional theater company casts an actor who suddenly reveals himself to have been Alec Baldwin in disguise,…”

            Well, since you put it THAT way…now, you KNOW I can’t argue against you when you frame it like THAT.

            Would it work the same way with a troupe of Jack Kennedys, where one in disguise was Rock Hudson?

          • I think we can all agree that cyber bullying is bad, but the company canned her because the cyber bullying reflected that her tweet would be bad for business. I’m actually more bothered by the canning of this actress, although I agree that the theater had to protect itself.

            As an aside, I also saw this play back in the day and it also was performed by a group of women. It was tolerable in that format, but I would have found a one-woman show sleep inducing.

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