Sought: An Ethical Reason Why This Professor Should Not Be Fired Immediately, And Never Hired For A Teaching Position Again, Anywhere

 

Meanwhile, for Trinity College, the countdown has started.

After Professor Johnny Eric Williams, associate professor of sociology at Trinity College in Hartford, approvingly posted a Medium article titled “Let Them Fucking Die” on Facebook, he went on to endorse the article’s thesis ( potential rescuers like those who helped Rep. Steve Scalise should let imperiled white people die as a form of combating white supremacy) in his own Facebook posts:

The Medium article concluded with this advice regarding one’s responsibilities as a citizen and a human being when a white person is in mortal peril… Continue reading

Talia Jane, Public Jerk, Grabs Credit For Yelp’s Pay Raise

She's baaaaaack!

She’s baaaaaack!

Remember the fifteen-minutes of infamy of Talia Jane, an entry-level Yelp employee who posted an article to the social media site Medium titled, An Open Letter To My CEO?    Cheekily addressed to “Jeremy” (Yelp Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppleman), the letter/rant/ classic of arrogant entitlement was a long, snotty whine about her low compensation—you know, like all entry-level jobs—alleged abject poverty (which was quickly shown to be a lie), high Bay Area living expenses (because they were a secret until she moved there), company policies and the fact that Yelp creator Stoppleman was rich.

Jane was thoroughly shredded by every online commentator (including Ethics Alarms) over the age of 21 and not a Bernie Sanders supporter. The obnoxious screed showed a complete lack of personal responsibility for her own choices, and made her a strong candidate for Most Unattractive Job Candidate of 2016. My conclusion:

I wouldn’t trust Talia Jane to run my lemonade stand.

Hey, but she’s young, she made a mistake, and she’ll learn and grow through this misstep, understanding the error of her ways and going forward to become a fair, reasonable, ethical member of society, right?

Fat chance. I hesitated to pronounce her essay as signature significance, a misbegotten ethics botch of a magnitude that indicated the author was probably an incurable toxic jerk, because 25 is too early to write off even the most egregious offenders. She may learn yet, I suppose, but the most recent evidence is not encouraging. Continue reading

An Unethical Match: The Ex-Yelp Whiner Finds The Perfect Potential Employer, Sort of

Fdbak

Fdbak, for those times you are afraid to complain about bad service. I think you need a better example for your website, Bob. Signed, Anonymous.

In writing about Talia Jane, Ethics Alarms concluded that her “open letter” to her boss at Yelp was really an career play designed to get the aspiring writer publicity and sufficient fame to exploit for her advancement. If it constituted unprofessional conduct and betrayal of trust, she really didn’t care. (Subsequent investigations of her social media activity indicate that her representations of abject poverty were less than honest). Whether this was the plan or not, her public screed, like excrement attracts flies, got her a job interview with what seems like a good match for someone with her peculiar sense of ethical conduct.

The marketing director at a Dallas startup company called Fdbak sent an invitation Talia’s way on the company’s Facebook page:

Dear Talia Jane,

I commend you for standing up for yourself, and your coworkers. Communicating directly with your CEO takes a lot of courage, especially when the subject matter is negative. I’m reaching out to you on behalf of Fdbak, Inc., a Dallas, TX based technology firm. Fdbak created a messaging app that lets you send and receive anonymous feedback to and from anyone. More importantly, you can tell your employer what you really think, without fear of retribution.

You have already been put through a tumultuous gauntlet of improper employee-employer relations, but there are many employees out there that are struggling to speak up, fearing a result similar to yours. Our goal is to provide individuals with an anonymous vehicle for workplace communication, protecting them from what happened to you. We’d love to have you on our team, helping us build a professional environment where you can speak freely and safely to anyone.

Robert Cowlishaw
Marketing Director at Fdbak

The message is factually incorrect, and what is known in the marketing field as “bullshit.” Talia didn’t communicate directly with her CEO, or if she did, she hasn’t said so. She communicated indirectly and publicly, using a medium, “Medium,” that it was a fair guess that her boss never used or read. So why is Fdbak extolling her unethical open letter and misrepresenting it? Simple: the company, a start-up, is trying to hitchhike on her 15 minutes of fame before it expires, even though her conduct doesn’t really fit.

‘Uh, Bob? She didn’t get fired for communicating directly with her boss. She got fired for embarrassing the company by attacking it in public.’

‘Close enough!!!!’

I now know this is a sleazy company aborning, and so should you.

Continue reading

Ethics Observations On Talia Jane’s “Open Letter” To Yelp

Talia Jane. Get used to seeing this face over the next 15 minutes or so...

Talia Jane. Get used to seeing this face over the next 15 minutes or so…

The story: A 25-year-old entry level Yelp (at Eat24, which is owned by Yelp) customer service agent named Talia Jane posted an article to the social media site Medium titled, An Open Letter To My CEO.  Addressed to “Jeremy,” Yelp Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppleman, Jane’s epistle was a long. angry, often sad, more often snarky lament about her low compensation, current poverty, and lack of satisfaction with her job;  her personal hardship as she struggled with Bay Area living expenses like rent, food, electricity, internet, transportation; and her criticism of company policies and Stoppleman’s millions (Yelp was his creation.) The letter quickly went viral, especially among Bernie-files and on left-leaning websites, as the post was a rant against the lack of a living wage and greedy corporations generally. A couple hours later, Talia posted an update that she had been fired, and Stoppleman responded to some of her concerns on Twitter, protesting that he and his company were not as callous as she claimed. Stoppleman also tweeted that he was uninvolved in her firing and it was unrelated to the Medium post.

Observations:

1. Of course, Yelp had to fire her. Any company, large or small, would and should fire a low level employee who intentionally attacks her employer and the company’s CEO in a public forum. That the letter was read far and wide just sped up the process. The Bernie Brats, being so ignorant of the way of the world that they actually believe Sanders’ Socialist fantasies, naturally faulted Yelp for her fate. In Bernie World, you see, everyone is guaranteed a job, even after they go out of their way to embarrass the people who write their paychecks, or so they appear to believe.

2. Jane wrote that her firing was “unplanned” but not unexpected. I don’t believe that for a second; in fact, the statement is contradictory. She wrote a 2500 word attack on her employer and posted it online, and says she “expected’ to be fired. When you take deliberate action that you know will have a specific result, that’s a plan. The plan is to get out of a job she hates and that doesn’t advance her desired career—apparently to be a highly paid web commentator and wit—by making herself into a sympathetic celebrity long enough to exploit her fame and re-boot her ambitions. Isn’t that obvious? I’m sure that Talia is being booked on radio and TV shows as I write this. For her plan to work, however, she has to lie about her intentions in writing the letter. To some extent, I admire her audacity, and the plan may work. But this is The Saint’s Excuse: she made a deal with Yelp; they held up their end of it; she miscalculated, she was dissatisfied, so she made Yelp a public target for her own benefit.  Unethical. It is also the rationalization called Ethical Vigilantism: she thinks this is right because she deserves better, and is justified betraying her benefactor.

3. I wouldn’t trust Talia Jane to run my lemonade stand. Continue reading

A Psychic Ethics Train Wreck in Liberty County

Surprise: her anonymous tip is not credible.

I have been remiss in not discussing a recent Ethics Train Wreck that occurred two weeks ago, a fiasco that occurred in Liberty County, about an hour from Houston, Texas.

A self-professed psychic who calls herself Angel called police and told them that she had a vision that a mass grave containing the dismembered bodies of children was on the property where Joe and Gena Bankson lived. She also described some of the features of the property. That was enough for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, which armed itself with a search warrant and cadaver-sniffing dogs and converged on the home,  along with a mob of reporters and two news helicopters. As the police dug holes, somebody jumped the gun, and soon cable news stations flashed alerts that up to 30 bodies had been found.

There were no bodies. Continue reading

Nefredo v. Montgomery County: Ethical Treatment for Fortune-tellers

Or should that be “ethical treatment for charlatans”?

In the case of Nefredo v. Montgomery County, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that it was an infringement of the Right of Free Speech for the Montgomery County, Md., to deny a business license to a fortune-teller on the basis of a County ordinance that declared charging a fee for fortune-telling services was a crime. The ordinance states:

“Every person who shall demand or accept any remuneration or gratuity for forecasting or foretelling or for
pretending to forecast or foretell the future by cards, palm reading or any other scheme, practice or device shall be subject to punishment for a class B violation as set forth in section 1-19 of chapter 1 of the County Code; and in any warrant for a violation of the above provisions, it shall be sufficient to allege that the defendant forecast or foretold or pretended to forecast or foretell the future by a certain scheme, practice or device
without setting forth the particular scheme, practice or device employed…” Continue reading