Unfortunately, it will be a while before I get to the next ethics topic. Accompanied by the ProEthics acting troupe, The Ethical Arts Players, I’ll be running not just one but two harassment awareness and avoidance trainings today. Avoiding harassing conduct is only applied ethics after all; it should be easy, but it isn’t.
I’ll be talking about some high profile cases that have been discussed here: the Trump-Billy Bush video, naturally; Ellen Degeneris’s cute sexual harassment of Jake Gyllenhaal on television that nobody complained about because…she’s Ellen! ; and the most relevant of all for the group I’ll be talking to, made up of scientists and academics, this story.
Sexual harassers come in many varieties, and this reminds me that I need to write more about the topic. Here are 15 types that have been identified in the wild so far, but hybrids and mutants are also out there:
- The Power Player: A “quid pro quo” harasser: the boss.
- The Counselor: Exploiting mentor relationships, abusing tryst
- The Leader of the Pack: Leading group embarrassment or marginalization
- The Serial Harasser: The Intentional and shameless abuser. With all that has gone on in the law and public eye, they are still out there in force.
- The Groper: Hands and Eyes. Yes, that’s Joe Biden…
- The Opportunist: Awaiting their chances, and ready to pounce on the trusting, vulnerable and needy
- The Bully : Sexual harassment as punishment, manipulation or just for sadistic fun
- The Confidante: Building trust to abuse it, that Platonic friend who’s not really platonic.
- The Pest: Polite, but not taking “no” for an answer
- The Sympathetic Harasser – Exploiting a crisis
- The Gallant: Misusing compliment and manners to marginalize, the kind of harassment women often don’t notice. (Barack Obama is one.)
- The Nerd: Socially inept individuals who desire the attentions of their targets, and who often don’t see that they do not reciprocate these feelings.
- The Stalker: Watching, trailing, bothering, tracking. The most dangerous harasser.
- The Blunderer : An accidental or clueless harasser
- The Star: The open harasser who’s status prevents him from being called one, or called to account.
That was a rhetorical question. It isn’t okay. It’s sexual harassment. It’s a double standard. And it’s wrong.
I must admit, I’m kind of ticked off about it.
Jake Gyllenhaal is a marvelous and attractive young actor, currently starring on Broadway in the revival of Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George.” He’s also a favorite guest of Ellen Degeneris, America’s favorite openly gay TV talk show host. I don’t usually watch “Ellen,” but I was in a dentist’s chair getting SIX cavities filled (Remember Dudley Moore in “10”? Like that.) and that was on the telly while I was suffering.
Ellen spent easily five minutes nagging Jake to take off his shirt. Well, it’s possible it was less: time seems to pass slowly when you are watching a famous and beloved Hillary Clinton supporter engage in unethical sexual conduct that is far, far more substantive than anything Billy Bush did when he was caught on tape with Donald Trump, and there are drills, rubber devices, cotton and random finger in your mouth.
Try it some time. You’ll see. Continue reading
2014 Conflicts of Interest of the Year
- Conflicted Elected Official: Philadelphia State Senator LeAnna Washington. This is always an entertaining category. Washington was convicted of using her tax-payer financed staff to organize a yearly campaign fundraiser around her birthday party. When one staffer complained that this was illegal, she reportedly replied, according to his grand jury testimony:
“I am the fucking senator, I do what the fuck I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me. I have been doing it like this for 17 years. So stop trying to change me.”
- Conflicted Journalist: CNN sent Jay Carney, fresh off his assignment as President Obama’s official spokesman, defender and spinmeister, to cover his ex-boss’s speech.
- Conflicted “Non-partisan” Watchdog: CREW. The Center For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and its chief, Melanie Sloan, finally came clean (after falsely claiming non-profit status as a non-partisan organization for years) by making David Brock, head of the openly partisan, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Republican media watchdog Media Matters its Chairman of the Board, essentially merging the two groups.
- Appearance of Impropriety Award: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La), Republican Whip. It is not certain yet whether Scalise knowingly spoke to a group of white supremacists in 20o2, inadvertently spoke to the group, or just spoke to another group meeting in the same venue before the David Duke-affiliated group of racists started comparing sheets. It isn’t even clear that Scalise knows, but everyone should agree that it looks awful no matter how you categorize it, making the fiasco a classic appearance of impropriety situation. If the Republicans were smart, they would dump him.
Unethical Attire of the Year
Unethical Political Candidate of the Year
Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, whose campaign materials were largely plagiarized from the materials other candidates.
Ethically Clueless Voters of the Year
New York’s 11th Congressional District, which contains Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. These alert and ethical citizens sent back to Washington thuggish and crooked Rep. Michael Grimm (R), then facing a 20-count indictment by federal authorities for fraud, federal tax evasion, and perjury, having earlier distinguished himself by threatening to kill a reporter and being recorded doing so.
Unethical Advertising of the Year
Public Service Announcement Division:
TV Program Division:
The Discovery Channel’s campaign for “Eaten Alive!” which did not, in fact, feature anyone being “eaten alive,” or at all.
Private Sector Product Division:
Halos. Or perhaps this is the Child Abuse Division:
Political Campaign Division:
Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Texas Governor, offered an ad attacking her wheelchair- bound opponent that 1) appealed to bias against the disabled 2) misrepresented the duties of a state attorney general 3) misrepresented the facts of the cases the ad referred to and 4) deceived the public regarding the ethical duties of lawyers, which Davis, a lawyer, presumably understands. Continue reading
I wrote about this ethical breach when Ellen DeGeneris did it at the Oscars. The short version is this:
“It’s unethical to pretend that a selfie is a spontaneous gesture of fun and friendship when you have a commercial agreement in place to use the photograph in a way that promotes the cell phone manufacturer.”
This is exploitation for commercial gain, and it’s wrong. It’s wrong when the victims are movie stars, and it’s wrong when the exploited party is President of the United States. Continue reading
Taken completely spontaneously using a Galaxy S5 by Samsung. Get yours today!
Ellen DeGeneris is adorable, and as ideal a public face to place on the image of gay acceptance and same-sex marriage as you could concoct in a marketing strategy meeting. She’s funny, she’s friendly, she’s nice: to be threatened in any way by Ellen is to be the epitome of an irrational homophobe.. Her accumulated good largely insulated her from the negative criticism she earned with a shockingly inept performance as this year’s host of the Academy Awards ceremony. She didn’t exactly make one long for Seth (“We saw your boobs!”) McFarland, last year’s oppressive MC,but watching her—any experienced performer could see the signs of a comic who knew she was bombing and had no idea what to do about it—was uncomfortable when it wasn’t deadly boring.
The one routine that seemed successful was DeGeneris’s successful effort to create the “most re-tweeted tweet of all time,” which she accomplished by dragooning Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence Lupita Nyong’o, Kevin Spacey and Jared Leto in to take a selfie with her. It garnered over 3 million retweets at last count. But it was a set-up. This was not just a fun party stunt with friends, which is how it was represented to the audience and indeed to the stars themselves. No, the selfie was part of a very pricey deal between the Academy and Samsung, which sells the recently enhanced Galaxy S5 Ellen used to take the picture.
From the Wall Street Journal: Continue reading