Frequent readers here will be familiar with the Pazuzu Excuse. Pazuzu was the demon that made Linda Blair say such awful things in “The Exorcist”—he also made her head swivel around 180 degrees. Pazuzu is the presumptive miscreant whenever someone tried to beg forgiveness for a particularly vile, and often career-threatening remark by arguing that the statement “didn’t reflect my true beliefs,” as if someone else had suddenly grabbed the controls. Michael Richards (“Kramer” on “Seinfeld”) was, therefore, mystified about why he suddenly started screaming “Nigger!” at a stand-up comedy performance. Mel Gibson swore that all the anti-Semitic slurs he uttered on a fateful night were of mysterious origin, since he isn’t the kind of guy who would act like that. (Later events proved this to be mistaken.) There are many examples from the famous, momentarily famous and not famous at all.
The Full Pazuzu is reached when someone implies that what was said or written suggests a different identity. Sony executive Amy Pascal, to cite a recent example, explained her hacked e-mails (which really weren’t that bad) by writing,
“The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am…”
Whoever or whatever those e-mails were an accurate reflection of, they fired him/her/it.
Now, however, by way of Stone Mountain, Georgia, comes a rare Ultimate Pazuzu, where the individual under fire really blamed the devil. [NOTE: Pazuzu isn’t the devil, but he works for him, so under the principle of agency, it’s a distinction without a difference.] Continue reading →
Good for you, Amy.
“Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and say, ‘Can I give you some more?’ Because that’s not what you do when you run a business. The truth is, what women have to do is not work for less money. They have to walk away. People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs. … People should know what they’re worth.”
—Recently fired—because of those hacked e-mails—Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal, in an interview with journalist Tina Brown at the Women in the World conference in San Francisco. She was addressing her e-mails revealing that actress Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in “American Hustle.”
Take that, “77 cents for every dollar”!
My least favorite deceitful statistic took it on the chin with Pascal’s candid and accurate statement, and she ranks Ethics Hero status not just for saying it, but saying it in front of an audience full of women who have supported the lie while cheering and voting for politicians who repeat it.
A large chunk of the disparity between the salaries of men and women for the same jobs is not the product of bias or discrimination, but the natural consequences of females being raised to be less assertive, with lower self-esteem, and their resulting poor negotiating skills. Pascal is placing responsibility squarely where it belongs. This has been one more example of a traditionally mistreated group relying on victim-mongering rather than focusing on personal responsibility, accountability and honesty to address what is well within their power to fix.
Brava, Amy Pascal!
If Sony had any sense or principals, it would give you your job back.
Outrageous Hoax Of The Year
Mamoru Samuragochi, the composer sometimes known as “The Japanese Beethoven” because he composed critically acclaimed works despite being deaf, was exposed as double fraud: he didn’t compose the works that made him Japan’s most popular classical composer, and he isn’t even really deaf! Samuragochi hired a musical ghostwriter named Takashi Niigaki to compose more than twenty compositions for Samuragochi since 1996.
Funniest Outrageous Hoax
Unethical Artist Of The Year
Performance artist Maximo Caminero, who walked into the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, entered a special exhibit of sixteen ancient Chinese vases painted over in bright colors by celebrated Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, picked up one of them, and immediately after a security guard instructed him not to touch the exhibit, allowed the vase to fall from his hands, shattering into bits. Caminero admitted that smashing the pottery, which was valued at a million dollars, was intentional, and was his protest against in support of local artists like himself whose work is not exhibited at the museum while the art of international artists like Weiwei is.
Unethical Veterinarian Of The Year
Fort Worth, Texas veterinarian Lou Tierce lost his license for five years as a result of, among other transgressions, his telling the owners of a Leonburger (it’s a very big dog) that their pet was terminally ill and had to be euthanized, then secretly keeping the dog alive in a small cage so he could use Sid’s blood for transfusions to Dr. Tierce’s other canine patients. Eventually an assistant at the clinic blew the whistle and alerted Sid’s owners, who rescued their dog and sicced the law on the worst veterinarian since Dean Jones menaced Beethoven.
Unethical Doctor Of The Year
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s medical expert, endangered the public by defying a voluntary quarantine for possible Ebola exposure, because she just couldn’t bear to be without her favorite soup.
Scam of the Year
The Affordable Care Act.
Unethical Federal Agency Of The Year
The Secret Service. Lots of competition in this category: the Veterans Administration, the I.R.S., the CDC, the Justice Department, NSA…but when you essentially have one job to do and do it badly, sloppily carelessly and dangerously, there’s really not much more to say Continue reading →
Amy Pascal, apparently…
You can’t make this stuff up. First North Korea apparently hacks Sony’s emails to punish it for producing a Seth Rogen comedy,—which, by the way, would justify a national response if the current leadership didn’t object to necessary retaliation on principle: this is a foreign attack on American soil, just not a fatal one—-then the revealed e-mails showing enthusiastic Obama supporters Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures co-chair, and movie producer Scott Rudin making racist jokes worthy of the readers of Chimpmania.
Of course, Buzzfeed shouldn’t have published hacked e-mails—private is private— but it couldn’t resist. Let’s see: Buzzfeed, Pascal, Rudin, North Korea…let’s throw in our government being unwilling to stand up against vile foreign governments cyber-attacking citizens and businesses: yes, I’d say this qualifies as an Ethics Train Wreck.
Here was the email exchange between Pascal and “The Social Network” producer Scott Rudin, when Pascal sought his advice on what she should say to the President at an upcoming Hollywood fundraiser:
Rudin: Would he like to finance some movies [?]
Pascal: I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” [ The violent Tarentino “Escaped-slave-kills-white-guys” Western mash-up revenge epic ]
Rudin: 12 YEARS [A Slave]”
Pascal: “Or the butler [“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”]. Or think like a man?” [ Steve Harvey comedy “Think Like A Man”]
Rudin: Ride-along. [“Ride Along,” a failed cop buddy movie-action flick starring a mostly black cast] I bet he likes Kevin Hart.
Let me focus for the nonce, however, on the absurd and self-indicting apology by uber-hypocrite Amy Pascal, who said: Continue reading →