Apology Ethics 2: Is This A Legitimate Excuse? Does It Matter?

Skydiving

Tom Angel was chief of staff for the Los Angeles County sheriff until emails he had sent to friends four years ago, prior to becoming the sheriff’s top aide, denigrating several different groups of minorities including Muslims, Catholics and Latinos surfaced in the media. Now Angel  has resigned.

His boss, Sheriff Jim McDonnell,  announced the departure  in a statement posted to Facebook that called the messages “inappropriate and unprofessional.”  That was fair.

Originally, the department defended Angel, saying in part,

“Although his judgment in this situation is of concern to members of the Sheriff’s Department, no one is more distressed about it than Chief Angel himself.  His apologies for this uncharacteristic act have been profuse and sincere. Chief Angel’s decision-making and actions in his long prior career with the Sheriff’s Department and since his return in 2015 reveal more about his actual character and typical good judgment than the instances from four years prior currently reported in the media.”

It didn’t work, especially after Angel’s apology, quoted in the LA Times, was this:

“Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn’t have forwarded. I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes.”

Should that have been sufficient? Continue reading

Now THIS Is Insensitive!

Walmart_fat_girl_costumes

Yes, you read right: “Fat Girl Costumes.”

I don’t care for euphemisms generally, but there is no way “fat girl’ can be excused as anything but denigrating and disrespectful.

Once Walmart was deluged with protests and slams via social media after this appeared on its website this morning, it edited the page, now re-worded  to “Women’s Plus Size Halloween Costumes,” and announced,

‘This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize.”

Unaddressed are  body-image issues. Most of the models shown in costume are indeed on the endomorphic side, but if Walmart calls this a fat girl…

_Walmart_fat_girl_costumes

…who isn’t?

_____________________

Source: Daily Mail

 

The Pazuzu Defense For A School Board President Who Called A Parent “Chubby-Wubby”

Exorcist IV: Pazuzu And The School Board

Exorcist IV: Pazuzu And The School Board

In the “funny but wrong” category:

Raymond Cote resigned as the head of the Mahopac Board of Education in the Putnam County school district (in upstate New York) after an open microphone at a meeting caused him to be overheard saying, “Oh I know, I know. This one here, ‘Chubby wubby.’ She gets fatter and fatter at every meeting. She really does!”

This isn’t political correctness. This is a leader demonstrating contempt and lack of respect for his constituency. Denigrating parents based on weight and personal appearance makes Cote untrustworthy as a school board member obligated to be responsive to parental concerns. He also announced he would not run for re-election. to the board. He got that right, at least.

His apology, however, was ridiculous: he embraced the Pazuzu excuse, in which someone who says something horrible claims that he was somehow not responsible for the words that cane out of his mouth, as when Linda Blair served as the ventriloquist dummy for the demon Pazuzu in “The Exorcist.” Cote emailed an apology to parents:

“I would like to apologize for my choice of words after the close of the board meeting on April 8, 2014, which are regretful. My words were inappropriate and do not reflect my feelings or attitudes. I will strive to regain the trust and respect of the community.”

Interesting!

1. If the words didn’t reflect his feelings, whose feelings do they reflect? Of course they are his feelings. Why would he say something completely alien to what he thinks…unless…it was the demon Pazuzu!!!

2. It wasn’t his choice of words, it was what his choice of words expressed. Is there a choice of words that would be a, kind, civil, respectful and acceptable way to say the parent gets fatter every meeting?

3. The words may have been regrettable, but they were not “regretful.” Maybe finding  a literate, English-speaking head of the school board is an idea whose time has come.

________________________________

Pointer and Facts: ABA Journal

 

 

Ethics Quiz: If There Is Going To Be A Racial Double Standard For Bigoted Statements, Can We Please At Least Know What It Is?

stop-sign2

Item: Donald Sterling, billionaire owner of the NBA Clippers, while speaking with his mistress/girl friend/ escort in the bedroom, announces that he doesn’t want her bringing black men to Clippers games. In the process, he does not say anything specifically derogatory about African- Americans. He believes the statement is private, and that he is talking to someone he could trust.He was wrong. A recording of the conversation was leaked to the press, and Sterling has been roundly vilified as a vile racist, threatened with a boycott by the players, mostly African-American, in the NBA, fined 2.5 million dollars and banned from the game.

Item: Via Mike Wise, Washington Post sports writer—

“Following Wednesday’s Pacers-Wizards game in Indianapolis, during the time when NBA rules permit media members to be present, the music blaring in the Indiana locker room was filled with vile language: racist, homophobic and misogynist. Afterward, I complained on Twitter that if Commissioner Adam Silver truly wants an inclusive league, he ought to address this (common) practice.”

Result: Wise, who is white, was attacked as a racist. What NBA players listen to in the locker room is none of his business, he is told (but what Donal Sterling says in his bed room is their business.) The NBA has done, and is expected to do, nothing.

Item: Appearing on ESPN where he is a commentator, Charles Barkley, former NBA star (and an African-American), decided to deride the women of San Antonio, Texas as fat. “There’s some big ‘ol women down there,” said Barkley. “That’s a gold mine for Weight Watchers.” He added, “Victoria is definitely a secret. They can’t wear no Victoria’s Secret down there.” A spokesperson for a fat acceptance group protested:

“Making slurs about body size is just as offensive as making comments about body color. One would think being a black man, he’d be more sensitive to having his physical body criticized. It’s totally out of line. He should absolutely apologize.”

Barkley not only refused to apologize, but defiantly challenged anyone objecting to his remarks, jokes or future comments to “change the channel.”  Nobody expects Barkley to suffer any consequences from this series of events.

Item: In 2007, talk show provocateur Don Imus got into a facetious discussion with a broadcast team member about how te women’s basket ball team from Rutgers was “rough looking” and had some “nappy-looking ho’s.” He also referenced Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” and the film’s “Jigaboos vs.  Wannabes.” Imus apologized profusely, pronouncing the exchange inappropriate, thoughtless and stupid. Under pressure from various civil rights groups,  WFAN, which produced his show, fired Imus, who has never regained his previous prominence.

Item: In 2013, media professional Justine Sacco tweeted a race-based joke before boarding a plane to Africa: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” A furious cyber mob condemned her as a racist, and demanded her punishment. When she landed in Africa, she learned that she had  been fired.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today is…

What the hell is going on here?

Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Joy Behar

These things never happened at the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, but then, those comics were pros, not wannabe political pundits...,

These things never happened at the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, but then, those comics were pros, not wannabe political pundits…,

The View edged up in my estimation a tic or two when Joy Behar exited it for her own show, now mercifully ended. Admittedly, this enhancement still left that offensive ABC daytime talk-fest well below water, but anything was an improvement over Behar, the epitome of a loud and opinionated celebrity with nothing to contribute of substance to any discussion except misplaced arrogance and noise. I’m sure I’ve flagged at least one or two of her stunts…let’s check. Why yes, here is one: I wrote this when Joy led a walk-out on guest Bill O’Reilly because he had the bad taste to suggest that Muslims took down the Twin Towers. (They did, you know.)

Given her antics through the years, I was stunned to discover that anyone would compensate this awful woman to give her a podium, but someone did. On April 1, Behar was one of a group of New Jersey comedians hired to participate in a “roast” of former New Jersey governor Brendan Byrne, who is in his nineties. On the dais with Byrne was the current governor Chris Christie, who, this being a roast, came in for more than his share of the jibes from the comics, who were generally clever about it. Behar, however, decided to make her act personal and nasty. Continue reading

Unethical Excuses From All Over: Time Magazine, Richard Cohen, and Toronto

escuses

Caught red-handed in unethical conduct, the right, honest, courageous and yes, practical thing to do is to admit wrongdoing, eschew excuses, acknowledge fault, express contrition, and resolve not to behave in a similar manner again. Unfortunately, this is difficult for many people, especially, it seems, those in the public eye. Another reason it is difficult is that people who engage in grossly unethical conduct tend to gravitate to unethical responses when they are called to account for it.

We are currently awash in examples of this phenomenon:

I. Time explains that its fat slur cover on Chris Christie wasn’t what it seemed.

Ethics Alarms was one of the first to call foul on Time’s unprofessional “Elephant in the room” cover on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the condemnation of it was almost universal. There was no defense for this, a purely juvenile and biased insult masked as journalism. An ethical organization would have immediately responded:

‘Time used poor judgment in its language on the recent Chris Christie cover, which was gratuitously insulting to the Governor and millions of Americans. It was wrong to mock the governor because of his weight, as it is wrong to denigrate anyone based on their physical appearance. This was a failure of our editing process, by our staff, and of the entire organization, which failed to meet the high standards of professionalism, fairness, civility and integrity that Time has traditionally strived to meet, and has met in the past. We apologize to Governor Christie and our readers. Everyone should expect better of Time magazine, and we betrayed that trust. We vow to work diligently to regain it.’

But noooooooo!

What Time really did was… Continue reading

Unethical Magazine Cover Of The Year: Time (As Henry Luce Spins In His Grave)

Time Christie

It really is past time for Time to go away.

Once the epitome of sharp, incisive, erudite weekly news reporting and commentary, it long ago morphed into just another left-biased shill for liberal politicians and positions, but with a desperate, tabloid-style habit of using intentionally gross, disturbing or controversial cover graphics to sell more copies than its equally biased and shameless rival, Newsweek. Now Newsweek is mercifully gone, but Time’s rude cover habit remains, culminating in the above disgrace to Time’s traditions and responsible journalism.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is fat, get it? He’s the “elephant in the room.” Continue reading