Greetings from the Ethics Alarms bunker…
1. I’m current reflecting on a personal and professional ethics conflict. A colleague and long-time professional competitor—I would never call him a friend—has been ousted from his leadership position in the very successful organization he founded as a result of unproven allegations of sexual harassment and assault. It was a “believe all victims” situation, as well as what feels like a successful coordinated effort to “get” someone who had accumulated a lot of enemies, resentment and envy in a notoriously nasty industry once his power was waning.
On one hand, I feel like I should reach out to him and offer my guidance and support (as an ethicist and sexual harassment trainer, not a lawyer, and gratis, of course). On the other, I am pretty certain that he is guilty of at least some of what has been alleged, based on confidential accounts I have recently heard from reliable sources. Ethically, however, his ousting (it appears that he was given the option of “retiring”) lacked due process and fairness, and the organization was guided by public relations motives rather than legal or ethical ones.
Whose side should I be on?
2. Stop making me defend Facebook! As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, the aggressive pandering mode of corporations right now is being exploited by would-be censors of political speech. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced updated election policies and stricter “hate speech” rules in response to employee protests and pressure from activists, whose transparent objective is to silence or constrict any political views antithetical progressive positions and goals. In a message last week, Zuckerberg outlined plans to police disinformation relating to voting and elections, to flag certain content that risked triggering violence (I wonder what that standard is like today?) and concluded,
I’m committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues, because I believe we can make more progress when we hear each other. But I also stand against hate, or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that no matter where it comes from.
I doubt that flagrantly hateful content directed at the President will qualify as “hate.”
Never mind: the organizers of an advertising freeze against the company said that the new policies weren’t enough to make them end their boycott, the “Stop the Hate for Profit” movement, that has attracted support from appeasing brands like Honda, Unilever, Verizon and The North Face. “Hate” is now like “racism” and “white supremacy,” words that mean whatever they need to mean to strangle debate and dissent from the current “right” positions.
“Facebook is supporting hate, not ‘free speech'” Derrick Johnson, NAACP president, said in the statement. “I am incredibly concerned with Zuckerberg’s response today. Facebook’s inactions are costing us lives.”
Add “safe” to that list of infinitely flexible attack words.
Zuckerberg had written,
“We’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others. We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”
So criticism of illegal immigrants is now banned on Facebook…and the progressive censors want more. [Pointer: Arthur in Maine]
3. Of course they are out to cancel John Wayne again. It’s hunting season for every target that the Left has fired at and missed over the past decade. Naturally they are once more seeking the big game quarry of John Wayne, seeking to have him “canceled” based on an over-the-top interview he gave to Playboy in 1971. California Democrats in Orange County are again demanding that the county’s John Wayne Airport be renamed. Last week’s resolution read in part,
“The Democratic Party of Orange County condemns John Wayne’s racist and bigoted statements, and calls for John Waynes’ name and likeness to be removed from the Orange County airport, and calls on the OC Board of Supervisors to restore its original name: Orange County Airport.”
Perhaps more than any other performer, Wayne’s iconic on screen persona is distinct from the man, and was always intended to be. Marion Morrisey often talked about his alter-ego”John Wayne” in the third person; he once said that he went by his childhood nickname “Duke” because he still thought of “John” as the name of his character, not him. The statue of John Wayne they want to topple, like the films he starred in and that still are popular today, honors the actor’s creation, a personification of the nation, the West, and the many core national values, like courage, decency, commitment to justice, and loyalty. The man was not fairly represented by his words in the Playboy interview, but I am convinced that the attack on Wayne is part of the attempt to devalue all of American culture, including our history, the flag, the Presidency, the Founders, and “The Star Spangled Banner.” (Pointer: Neil Dorr)
4. An astute quote from Ann Althouse: Noting that when the Biden campaign announced that 58% of the staff was made up of women, a women’s rights group complained that the percentage should be higher, the blogress wrote,
“This is one more example of the never enough phenomenon. I need to make a “never enough” tag. Once you start capitulating to demands, you’re opening the door to endless demands. You take down the Confederate General statue, and before long the demand will be to take down the Lincoln statue, and to take down all statues.”
Doesn’t everybody know this by now? Obviously not. Our appeasing university administrators, mayors and corporate executives are just as ignorant of history as the mob.