[There is supposed to be a photo of Howard Stern here, but WordPress keeps refusing to embed it, thus showing the software’s admirable good taste.]
In May of 2015, Judith Barrigas of Sandwich, Massachusetts called the IRS service center with a question about her tax refund. She reached IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe, who was goofing off on the job, on hold after a call to Howard Stern’s radio show on satellite radio. Forsythe, still on hold (or so he thought) took the taxpayer’s call, and when the Stern show took reconnected, Stern’s listeners somehow heard Forsythe’s conversation with Barrigas. Stern and paid sycophant Robin Quivers then joked about the call, which concerned Barrigas’s payment plan: the IRS had applied Barrigas’s tax refund to pay her outstanding debts from 2011 and 2012, even though she complained she already had a repayment plan set up with the IRS. Her call, which she assumed was private, should have assumed was private and was guranteed by federal law to BE private, was on the airwaves for nearly an hour.
“I’m learning so much,” said Stern at the time, before he finally cut off the surreptitious eavesdropping. “I feel like I’m in math class and I’m flunking because I don’t know one thing he’s saying. I think I’m going to bail on this guy. By the way, this is the most boring job ever. I’d rather live in my parent’s basement if I had to do that. I’d give out all the wrong information. All right, dude, later!”
Barrigas has just sued the IRS, the Howard Stern Production Company, and Stern individually for violations of the Federal Tort Claims Act, unlawful disclosure of tax returns and personal information, and just the for the Stern side, negligence, invasion of privacy, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
1. Stern is scum, everyone who works for him is scum, and anyone who listens to him, appears as a guest on his program or celebrates him or promotes him in any way is enabling scummy conduct. Listening to him is also prima facie evidence of dying or dead ethics alarms. Anyone who stayed on the channel to listen in as a fellow citizen’s privacy was violated has never heard of the Golden Rule, much less understand it.
2. Just like Stern. This fiasco is primarily his responsibility, and nicely supports my opinion of the man, which was fully formed decades ago, the first time I had the misfortune to hear him. He didn’t care that a woman was having her personal finances exposed to te world. He didn’t care that by doing this, he was almost certainly ensuring that a fan (Forsythe) would be fired. All that matters to this sociopath is that his sniggering, adolescent (in body or mind) audience got their jollies, and that he could do his usual smug superiority act, when the man isn’t ethically superior to a hissing cockroach.
3. Forsythe, meanwhile, deserves everything he gets, which I hope is pink slip. He was 1) fooling around with a radio show when he was supposed to be working; 2) the show was Howard Stern, nor NPR, proving that he has the judgment of a mollusk, and shouldn’t be trusted with anything requiring more acumen than emptying wastebaskets; 3) he’s a technological boob, who somehow managed to get his phone lines crossed… 4) and to get his employers embarrassed and sued.
Sure, this is moral luck, but it’s not entirely bad luck. If you lie down with shock jocks like Stern, you should know that you risk waking up with metaphorical fleas.
Pointer: Tax Prof Blog
Source: Accounting Today