A Media Health Fick! Now Nancy Snyderman Has An Unethical Apology To Go With Her Irresponsible Conduct


Dear NBC: Why does this woman still have a job?

First Dr. Nancy Snyderman endangered the public by defying a voluntary quarantine for possible Ebola exposure, apparently because she just couldn’t bear to be without her favorite soup. Now she eliminates all doubt about her trustworthiness and character—none to the first, not much of the latter— with a terrible, blame-shifting, non-apology apology:

“While under voluntary quarantine guidelines, which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed. We remain healthy and our temperatures are normal. As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused. We are thrilled that Ashoka is getting better and our thoughts continue to be with the thousands affected by Ebola whose stories we all went to cover.”

1. “Members” violated those guidelines? SHE did! The statement is deceitful and misleading.

2. “As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public”—she can’t possibly know—yet—whether she and the rest of the exposed group pose a threat. And her conduct in this matter has been anything but professional.

3. Oh, she’s sorry for the “concerns.” She doesn’t apologize for sending someone who shared a car with her into a restaurant, risking the infection of large numbers of people, or violating the quarantine, or causing her group to have to be formally quarantined because she was too full of herself to eschew her favorite soup, or embarrassing the news media, NBC, and two professions: journalists and doctors. She’s just sorry all the uneducated hysterics out there got worried when she, the great Doctor Snyderman, just knows in her infinite expertise that silly precautions like quarantines don’t apply to her.

This episode certifies Snyderman as a fick, the Ethics Alarms designation for someone who is a mega-jerk and wants everyone to know it.  As for the yecch-worthy apology, it ranks at the very bottom of the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale. It is a Category 10: “An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.”


Bob Filner Is A Fick

Leroy Fick (L); unidentified woman, (C) Mayor Filner (R)

Leroy Fick (left); unidentified gropee, (right); Mayor Fick (far right)

“Fick” is a term of art on Ethics Alarms, describing the rare unethical miscreant who is not only  engaged in misconduct but perfectly happy to profit from it in full view of the public eye, apparently without shame. The appellation  is named after the despicable Leroy Fick, a Michigan lottery winning millionaire who exploited a loophole to keep getting public assistance. Ficks are the worst of the worst.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is a fick.

As the number of women who have accused him of groping, head-locking, kissing or otherwise sexually harassing them climbed beyond 18, Filner adamantly refused to do the right thing and resign (call me crazy, but I think even Bill Clinton would have had the decency to resign if a new Monica surfaced every other day for a month), even as other allegations of his misdeeds in the financial realm were being investigated. Knowing the recall effort rapidly gathering steam would cost the city many thousands of dollars, and understanding that San Diego was being humiliated as well as being barely governed while Mayor Fick, er, Filner, held it hostage, the city council has negotiated an exit by Filner, one that requires the city to pick up his legal tab, as well as the damages or settlements he would otherwise pay in any law suits against him arising out of his various incidents of harassment. Continue reading

Megan Merkel, Road Fick

This isn’t really Megan, just how I prefer to think of her…

We haven’t had a bona fide fick sighting at Ethics Alarms for a while, so welcome to Megan Merkel. A fick, you will recall, coined in honor of Michigan lottery winner/shameless food stamp recipient Leroy Fick, is someone who engages in outrageously unethical conduct and is defiant about it, an individual so ethically deficient that he or she can’t bring themselves to regret or show proper contrition for conduct that is undeniably wrong.

Ms. Merkel, 23, was arrested after her participation in this drama:

According to police, she was driving drunk at 7: 45 AM, northbound on Route 250 in Penfield, a suburb of Rochester, NY, alongside her recently-paroled boyfriend, 22-year-old Mark Scerbo. Scerbo, an idiot, was driving his motorcycle next to Merkel’s car and repeatedly passing it to do wheelies. He lost control of one of them, and hit Heather Boyum, a teacher and mother of two children, who was riding her bike on the shoulder. The impact threw the 40-year-old woman under the wheels of Merkel’s car, causing fatal injuries.  Merkel left the scene and was arrested for DWI.

But wait, there’s more! Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Former Fox Mole Joe Moto

“I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me… but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn’t able to fully do for the previous 36 hours.”

Joe Moto, upon getting his walking papers at Fox News. Moto, a producer on the O’Reilly show, had been sending anti-Fox posts to the gossipy and ethics-free website Gawker, denigrating the company that was paying his salary. His work as the “Fox Mole” didn’t last long, as he was discovered and fired after only two undercover posts.

Joe Moto, while at Fox News

Joe Moto is a fick.* He can’t justify his conduct, which is as low as it gets. In his statement above, which is part of his first post-Fox column, he acknowledges that he has no ethical argument left to him for his disloyal, cowardly breach of an employer’s trust, but informs the world that he intends to cash in anyway. I will say this clearly: anyone who ever hires this guy for any job, from working in TV to yard work, is insane. Continue reading

Leroy Fick, Meet the Honorary “Ms. Fick 2012.” On Second Thought, Don’t.

Amanda Fick, er, Clayton

Following in the despicable footsteps of Leroy Fick, the  Michigan millionaire lottery winner who collects food stamps because of a loop-hole in the law (and whose name, “fick,” has made the Ethics Alarms glossary as the word for someone who is willfully, openly and shameless unethical), here comes a Ms. Fick, a.k.a Amanda Clayton. She says that she is entitled to food stamps despite having two homes and a million dollar lottery prize that will leave her with $500,000 in the bank. No need for me to be creative here; what went for the Original Fick goes for her as well:

“What ethical principle doesn’t his conduct violate? He’s not responsible; he’s not accountable; he’s not fair. He doesn’t respect his fellow citizens or their opinions. He’s not loyal to his state or his community. He’s not compassionate, and I wouldn’t trust him to walk my dog: he’d probably sell him.  Is he honest? Applying for food stamps is an act that declares that you need them to eat, because that’s the only reason they exist: Leroy Fick isn’t honest.”

Ditto the honorary Ms. Fick, 2012, Amanda Clayton. And if there are any eugenics practitioners out there, please try to keep these ficks from ever getting together. That’s all Michigan needs…a litter of little Ficks.

Thanks to tgt for the tip.

Alec Baldwin, Something of the Year

I should have known I was going to regret naming Donald Trump the Ethics Alarms “Jerk of the Year” in May. True, The Donald has only burnished his credentials since then, but other worthy candidates have charged into what would be contention for the crown, had I not rashly bestowed it on Trump, confident that nobody could be a bigger jerk than a man who sided with the birthers while using the crucial presidential nominating process as a crude promotion for his cheesy reality show.

But 2011 has been a banner year for jerks, uber-jerks, and beyond-jerks. There was Rev. Terry Jones, for example, who got people killed by threatening to burn a Koran. He blew right past jerk to asshole, so Trump was spared having to compete with him. There was Leroy Fick, the despicable lottery millionaire who kept getting food stamps after his bonanza, because of a loophole in the Michigan food stamp regulations. He inspired a whole new category for himself,  fick, which describes an especially shameless jerk.

Now, however, I am faced with a serious dilemma. What is an appropriately severe designation for actor (and alleged New York mayoral hopeful, which is disturbing on so many levels) Alec Baldwin, who in addition to revealing himself as a 9-11 conspiracy theorist earlier this year, just behaved like a spoiled child on an American Airlines flight, got himself kicked off to the inconvenience of his fellow passengers, and insulted the airline and the plane’s crew afterwards on Twitter?  Continue reading

Fick Sighting in Prince George’s County

Leslie Johnson, fick.

Ethics Alarms recently coined the useful term fick to describe the especially shameless individual who violates society’s ethical norms openly, publicly and flagrantly, without remorse or apology. It takes a certain kind of anti-social arrogance to be a true fick, with the gold standard established by Michigan lottery winner Leroy Fick, a millionaire who happily continues to collect food stamps because of a statutory loophole despite howls of indignation from his neighbors in one of the most fiscally-challenged states in the nation.  Other ficks who have come to light include Hugh Heffner despicable ex-fiance Crystal Harris, who plotted to humiliate him at the altar to launch a reality show. Of course, there is  longstanding Octo-fick Nadya Suleman, and celebrity fick Charlie Sheen.

Now lucky Prince George’s County in Maryland has a bona fide fick of its own.  Continue reading

Crystal’s Evil Plot: Competition for Fick?


More attractive than Leroy Fick, but just as rotten inside...

Leroy Fick, the lottery winner/millionaire who still shamelessly collects food stamps because a flawed law lets him, was laps ahead in the race for the Creep of the Year  (non-criminal division), when out of the pack came Crystal Harris in a sprint. Fick is still ahead, if only because Harris was foiled in her despicable plans, but even having the idea she is reported to have concocted puts her on Fick’s heels.

Hugh Hefner has stuffed his Playboy Mansion with ambitious, busty bimbos for decades, and now that he is in his 80’s and providing for 25-year-old sex-kittens while lounging around in  pajamas, the whole thing is vaguely distasteful. Hef decided to go beyond his traditional harem bit by actually marrying one of the bimbos, Crystal Harris, who Hefner simultaneously would feature au natural (well, sort of) in a Playboy foldout. The marriage, alas, wasn’t to be, as Crystal had what Hef called (via Twitter), a “change of heart” shortly before the planned wedding day. Eh, big deal. Everything Hefner has done in his personal life has been 50% or more promotion for his business anyway, and one can hardly blame a young woman from deciding that whatever financial benefits Hefner offered were inadequate for what she was agreeing to—whatever it was. (Ick.)

At least, that was what I thought until reports started surfacing that Crystal had a diabolical plan. Continue reading

The Indescribable Leroy Fick

Fick, n.: "One who shamelessly and openly violates cultural norms of fairness and decency out of selfish motives"

If Ethics Alarms hadn’t awarded Donald Trump the Jerk of the Year Award, would Leroy Fick deserve it instead?

If Keith Olbermann was still giving out his “Worst Person ” titles, would Leroy Fick retire the category?

What is the right term for someone as shamelessly self-centered, and greedy as Leroy Fick?  “Bounder” is too dignified. “Creep” is too mild. “Bum’ is too sympathic. “Asshole’ is too generic. I’ve been searching all night; there isn’t a word in existence that does him justice.

Leroy Fick is a 59-year-old Auburn, Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery last June. Nevertheless, he is still living on food stamps, because eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income,  and  lottery winnings  don’t count as income. As long as Fick’s gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can legally qualify for them, and despite the fact that  he knows they are only meant to help support low-income families, and despite the fact that they are paid for by taxpayers, and despite the fact that Michigan, like most states, is swimming in red ink, Leroy Fick intends to keep letting the state help feed him just as if he was destitute.

“If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you’re not going to do it,” Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday. Naturally, Fick has a lawyer whose task it is to excuse his client’s astoundingly irresponsible conduct. He says that Fick “has done nothing wrong. It’s the system that needs (to be) changed.” Continue reading