Yes, I KNOW it’s Thursday, but I meant to use this song yesterday, but didn’t, because I thought it was Tuesday…
1 We have several Ethics Train Wrecks barrelling along. The Harvey Weinstein Express is still picking up expected passengers, like Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. The Executive Committee unanimously voted to award Weinstein the 2014 W.E.B Du Bois medal for contributions to African and African-American culture. In the midst of complaints by the African American community that Hollywood was slighting black artists and themes in its films, Weinstein’s Miramax studio had stood out as a notable exception.
The same professors voted Tuesday night to rescind the honor in the wake of the Weinstein’s (long-known but only recently publicly exposed) sexual predator proclivities, announcing in a statement: “We have voted unanimously to rescind the Du Bois Medal awarded to Mr. Weinstein in 2014. We stand with the women who have courageously come forward to fight for themselves and indeed for all of those who have experienced similar abuse.”
Wrong, and cowardly. What does sexual harassment have to do with African American culture? The mania among progressive missions groups to insist that only those who satisfy all broad progressive agenda mandates are worthy of any honor is why the nation’s continued celebration of Jefferson, Washington and other founders is hanging by a thread. Did Weinstein deserve the award in 2014? Yes, I assume. Has anything changed regarding the producer’s contributions to black culture through his movies? No.
I covered this substantially identical situation here, in 2015.
2. Same train wreck, different car: Actress Blythe Danner took to the New York Times letters page to defend her daughter, Gwynneth Paltrow, from critics like the Times’ Maureen Dowd (and me) regarding Paltrow’s handling of her early career harassment by Weinstein. Of Danner’s daughter, Dowd wrote,
Some who were importuned or pawed, like Angelina Jolie, stalked away and told studio executives that she would never work with the pestilent mogul. Others whom Weinstein asked to give him a massage in his hotel suite refused but continued to collaborate, like Gwyneth Paltrow, who put aside qualms to become “the first lady of Miramax.”
I put it somewhat differently, noting that Paltrow was never the typical helpless and vulnerable starlet, and later had sufficient power and influence to end Weisntein’s reign of open-bathrobe terror by simply going public with what she knew. This is complicty. Announcing that she too had been harassed after Weinstein was already in a nosedive to earth, his taile and wings aflame, wasn’t “brave.”
Danner writes in part,
Gwyneth did not “put aside her qualms to become ‘the first lady of Miramax’ ” back then, as Ms. Dowd would have it. She continued to hold her own and insist that Mr. Weinstein treat her with respect. She had learned from her father, the producer and director Bruce Paltrow, how to stand up for herself. ..I suggest that the pundits stop casting aspersions on the women who have confronted unwanted sexual advances in the manner each sees fit and concentrate on the constructive ways to prevent this behavior in the future.
She damns Paltrow with her own words. That’s right, Mom: Gwyneth insisted that Weinstein treat her with respect, and left dozens (hundreds?) of more vulnerable victims primed to be assaulted by him instead. She stood up for herself, got her Oscar celebrated films and roles, and dealt with Weinstein “as she saw fit,” just as Weinstein dealt with his victims as he saw fit.
Paltrow was part of Weinstein’s cover and cover-up. Danner writes later that she hopes “that this is the point of no return where change will occur.” If it is, one of the changes has to be that actors and actresses who know about harassers and predators think about future victims, and “see fit” to take action before, rather than after, an abuser is taken down.
3. I suppose it is some kind of fun house mirror form of integrity when a publication makes its bias so explicit that it can’t be missed, but Salon recent “The 25 conservatives actually worth following on Twitter” is a an open admission of Trump Derangement. When I looked fleetingly down the motley list, I noticed that the ridiculous Ana Navarro was on it—how could this logic and professionalism-challenged fool be worth following anywhere?—as well as Ethics Alarms’ favorite blogger, lawyer Ken White, who isn’t a conservative at all (he’s a libertarian). So what makes these 25 special, in Salon’s eyes? Only one thing: they all detest President Trump. A typical endorsement in the post, this of Richard Painter: “When he isn’t educating his followers on legal and government ethics, Painter displays his wit and his contempt for Trump.”
Painter has dismayed many of his colleagues in the legal ethics establishment by allowing his out-of-control hate for Trump cause him to promote endorse disingenuous and absurd legal theories.
An ethical and useful article by the same title would point Salon readers to principled conservative thinker and pundits that could challenge Salon’s knee-jerk leftist cant. Concludes Brian MacNicoll:
“Salon’s solution to helping fellow liberals learn more about the conservative ideals and thinking that beat them in the last election is to continue to read only people who echo their beliefs but label themselves conservatives.”