Celebrity vs Fan: The Amy Schumer Affair

Schumer Fan

Trendy comedienne Amy Schumer posted this tale of a recent encounter with a selfie-seeking fan on Instagram:

“This guy in front of his family just ran up next to me scared the shit out of me. Put a camera in my face. I asked him to stop and he said ” no it’s America and we paid for you” this was in front of his daughter. I was saying stop and no. Great message to your kid. Yes legally you are allowed to take a picture of me. But I was asking you to stop and saying no. I will not take picture with people anymore and it’s because of this dude in Greenville.”

She included the resulting photo of him above, which

a.) Made him an instant celebrity

b.) Made him an instant target,or

c.) Both.

Later, she “walked the statement back,” as they say in politics, and tweeted,

“I’ll still take pictures with nice people when I choose if it’s a good time for that. But I don’t owe you anything. So don’t take if I say no.”

The smiling young man with the blurry thumb  is named Leslie Brewer. This weekend, he contacted the Fox affiliate in Greenville–apparently everything will be happening in North Carolina from now on—to defend himself, and since conservatives hate Amy Schumer, Fox was eager to give him a forum.  The resulting story, in part: Continue reading

Speaking Of Photography Ethics, How About “Don’t Kill Anything”?

selfie dolphin

I’ll admit it: I have about as little interest in photography and photographs as it is possible to have for a human living in this century. I regard the mania for taking photos of oneself constantly and posting them on-line as strong evidence that crippling narcissism can be transmitted electronically, and as we have been discussing in comment to this recent post, if you try to use me as a prop in your cellphone camera-warped quest to make every your waking hour the object of public gawking, you had better ask permission first, or else. I realize this attitude is fighting the “everybody does it” tide, but I’m right, everybody is wrong, and that’s all there is to it.

This story out of Argentina, in addition to being disgusting, shows just how unbalanced the selfie-craze is making human priorities. I know—Argentina. This couldn’t happen here, right?  Not in a country where Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are surging in the polls….we’re too smart.

Two La Plata dolphins, members of a rare and endangered species, got to close to shore in their playfulness near an Argentinian resort last week. Some bathers plucked the small cetaceans out of the waves, and they were passed around a smiling, brain-dead mob containing selfie-mad amateur photographers.  One of the dolphins died of stress and exposure, and was just dumped on the beach. But never mind: it will live on in online shares and Instagram. What’s the problem, dude?

“At least one of these dolphins suffered a horrific, traumatic and utterly unnecessary death, for the sake of a few photographs,” a spokesperson from the World Animal Protection group said.  “This terribly unfortunate event is an example of the casual cruelty people can inflict when they use animals for entertainment purposes.”

Activists groups just cannot help themselves, can they?  They must squeeze every episode into their own agenda. This is one of many reasons why they aren’t trusted. This episode was about reckless, selfish, ignorant people who don’t have respect for living things, not Sea World.

Well, the crowd got their selfies, so it’s all worth it to them. Meanwhile. as for their once living, breathing, prop…

dead dolphin

Fortunately, the carcass was still good for one more photo.

 

NO NO NO Children, Buzzfeed: You May NOT Do This, For It Is Creepy And Unethical

An unethical cascade...

An unethical cascade…

Before we commence, I do want to thank all of you are keeping me away from Hillary and Trump with more horrible ethics stories than I can keep up with.

Now that I’ve got that over with:

In what warped, sick universe is this kind of thing considered ethical?

Gad. It’s a veritable unethical cascade:

First, high school students takes surreptitious photos of their teachers while they should be, you know, getting educated…

Second, the students post the photos, which have not been consented to by the teachers, on Instagram…

Third, the students add salacious or otherwise provocative comments about the teachers as objects of their lust…

Fourth, the bottom-feeding website BuzzFeed picks up the photos and puts them in a feature called “13 Really Hot Teachers That Will Have You Begging For Detention.”…

How unethical is this? Let me count the ways… Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Sterling Karrenstein

mobile_phone_cameraAt West Iredell High School in Statesville, North Carolina, student Sterling Karrenstein witnessed a resource officer using a taser to subdue a fellow student who punched the officer in the face. As he documented the incident on  his cell phone, school staff attempted to stop Sterling, demanding that he hand over the phone and even attempting to take it from him. He refused. The school principal apparently later told Sterling that being on school property eliminated his right to record events.

Wrong.

At least someone knows what is in the First Amendment. Obviously Sterling didn’t learn it at West Iredell High School, but Ethics Alarms salutes him for insisting on his rights as a citizen despite being pressured to do otherwise by incompetent authority figures.

If it is not disrupting class, infringing on the privacy of others or otherwise violating school policy, taking photos or video is a fully protected right.

This does not mean, it is important to note, that tasering a student who punched him was necessarily wrongful conduct by the officer.

______________________

Pointer: Tim LaVier

Ethics Heroes: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Michael Robertson: pervert, creep, outrageous abuser of women who deserves to be shunned, despised and condemned by all decent people. But a criminal? Not yet...

Michael Robertson: pervert, creep, outrageous abuser of women who deserves to be shunned, despised and condemned by all decent people. But a criminal? Not yet…

The degree to which our media pundits fail to grasp the essential nature of the rule of law remains confounding, and this is another in a long line of examples. Worse, the lower court in this weird case failed to grasp it as well.

You see, there is conduct that is obviously wrong, which we call unethical. Some of that conduct is so wrong, so harmful, and so difficult to discourage with social opprobrium and informal enforcement alone that we pass laws against it, both to signal strong disapproval but also to add serious negative reinforcement, in the form of tangible punishment, to the mix. Then the wrongful conduct becomes both unethical and illegal. If we skip the essential intermediate step of writing and duly passing the law that designate the conduct as illegal, however, we have established a dangerous, indeed frightening precedent. Then we have created a society where one can be imprisoned or fined for conduct that is regarded as unethical without a law in place that empowers the state to take such actions against citizens who engage in it. Ethics, unlike law, especially on the margins, is never etched in stone. Once society starts imprisoning individuals based on ethics alone, none of us are safe.

Yet this morning I was subjected to the protests of one TV commentator after another who derided the absolutely correct decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to uphold this principle by throwing out the conviction of Michael Robertson, a sick sleaze-ball who was arrested in August 2010 by Boston transit police who had set up a sting after getting reports that he was using his cellphone to take photos and video up female riders’ skirts and dresses: Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Administrators at Mustang (Oklahoma) Mid-High School

"No whistles allowed in class, kid. You're suspended!"

In Mustang, Oklahoma, a ninth-grader used his cell phone to snap a photo of  his substitute teacher who was sleeping on the job, in class. Guess what happened?

The student was suspended for violating a school policy prohibiting the use of electronic communication devices during school hours.

This combines the irresponsible unfairness of “no-tolerance” policies with old-fashioned retaliation against whistle-blowers.  The student did the only thing he could do to record a breach of duty by the snoozing teacher, who was cheating students out of their education, cheating the school out of work it had contracted for, and cheating Mustang tax-payers out of their hard-earned cash. Using a cell phone for this purpose was not only ethical but essential to solving the problem. In a business, an employee who used a camera to record on-the-job misfeasance or malfeasance would be protected from adverse job action no matter what policies he broke, because he would be a whistle-blower. The 9th grader was also a whistle-blower. An ethical and responsible school would have thanked him, and held him up as a good citizen of the school.

What does that make a school, then, that uses a strict interpretation of a policy to justify retaliation against the student, and by so doing sends a clear message to other students that the administrators and educators will protect their own, even when they are in the wrong?

It makes that school corrupt and corrupting. It means that the school chooses to teach students the lesson that one should look the other way when wrong-doing occurs, rather than take remedial action.

Just who does Mustang Mid-High School think it is?

Penn State?

The MacDonald’s Beating Video, Another Dead Canary in The Ethics Mine

Vernon Hacket: videographer, violence afficianado, shameless bystander

Last week, In the early hours of  April 18,two teenaged patrons at a Rosedale, Maryland MacDonald’s brutally beat Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, into a seizure. The attack was captured on a video recorded by Vernon Hackett, one of the MacDonald’s workers, on a cellphone camera. Other employees can be heard laughing on the video, and Hackett apparently is heard warning the attackers that the police are coming. He has been fired by the restaurant’s proprietor.  (More on this here.)

His firing was well-deserved, but it doesn’t begin to address the disturbing implications of the incident. Continue reading

Public Privacy and the Ubiquitous Camera

Everybody has a camera…well, almost everybody. Thanks to cell phones, we can be recorded in still or video formats almost every second of the day. We are our own Big Brother.  So much so, in fact, that it is hard to muster too much fright and indignation over increasing use of public cameras by the government. Boston police, for example, now have immediate access to street video of shootings, robberies, and homicides on many city streets, and use real time images to send information about the suspects and crimes to responding officers. Continue reading