Tag Archives: #MeToo
Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/28/18: Ingratitude, Dishonesty, Hypocrisy, Speech Suppression And Character Assassination…Is This A Great Country, Or What?
1. An especially despicable example of airbrushing history. It’s done. Yawkey Way, the street bordering Boston’s iconic Fenway Park that was renamed in honor of the owner of the Red Sox and the park following his death in 1977, has been returned to its old name of Jersey Street. The team petitioned for the change, an example of ingratitude and willful betrayal seldom seen in a public institution. A rough equivalent would be the University of Virginia banning the name of Thomas Jefferson. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Boston Red Sox franchise owes it esteemed (and profitable) status in Boston’s culture to Tom Yawkey, who owned the team for almost half a century. He has a plaque in baseball’s Hall of Fame, too. But Yawkey, who was born in the 19th Century was a man of his time, and was late accepting the need to integrate baseball, like every other baseball team owner until 1947, when the Dodgers broke the color line. By the final decade of Yawkee’s ownership, he had certainly learned his lesson: his team had the longest stretch of excellence since Babe Ruth was sold, led by such black stars as George Scott, Reggie Smith, Jim Rice, Cecil Cooper, and Luis Tiant.
Never mind. Last year, Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones triggered a public relations crisis for the team when he claimed that he had heard racial slurs from some fans in the centerfield bleachers. (I don’t doubt him.) The easy solution was to throw Tom Yawkey’s memory under the metaphorical bus, since purging his name (his wife, Jean Yawkey, also owned the team after her husband’s death) from the franchise he built. It proves that John Henry is “woke,” you see.How cynical and cowardly.
(My previous posts on this topic are here.)
2. Another one bites the dust. Good. Representative Patrick Meehan (R-PA) had already announced that he wouldn’t be running again after it was revealed that he had paid taxpayer funds to a sexual harassment victim on his staff, abruptly resigned yesterday to avoid a House ethics investigation. “While I do believe I would be exonerated of any wrongdoing, I also did not want to put my staff through the rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation and believed it was best for them to have a head start on new employment rather than being caught up in an inquiry,” Meehan said in his disingenuous statement, insulting anyone who read it,“And since I have chosen to resign, the inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers and committee staff.”
Meehan also said he would payback $39,000 to the Treasury to reimburse the cost of what he described as a “severance payment,” as in “negotiated damages for workplace misconduct that he didn’t want to have made public.”
Say what you will about #MeToo, it has chased a lot of public trust-abusing creeps out of Congress. Continue reading
Serial rapist and sexual predator Bill Cosby was found guilty today. From the New York Times:
A jury found Bill Cosby guilty Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near here 14 years ago, capping the downfall of one of the world’s best-known entertainers, and offering a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.
On the second day of its deliberations at the Montgomery County Courthouse in this town northwest of Philadelphia, the jury returned to convict Mr. Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he had mentored.
The three counts — penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious and penetration after administering an intoxicant — are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.
1 Good. Cosby should be serving hard time for rape. This verdict won’t accomplish that, and he has the resources to keep the matter tied up in appeals, maybe even forcing a new trial. Never mind: the verdict itself is satisfying punishment for a true ethics villain.
2. The verdict overcame the Cognitive Dissonance Scale, and that’s no mean feat. The jury deserves a lot of credit. Here, for the umpteenth time, is the scale:
Celebrities—or the characters they are identified with— are typically so high on the scale ( think of Bill/Cliff Huxtable as a plus 100) that even the evidence of a crime can’t pull them down sufficiently for jurors to be able to resolve the dissonance when they are thinking, “But he’s a great man and a wonderful person! How could he do these things?” The dissonance creates automatic reasonable doubt, all by itself, at least with enough jurors to ensure a mistrial, as in Cosby’s first trial. Hence O.J. Errol Flynn was acquitted of statutory rape. Robert Blake (“Baretta”) was acquitted of murdering his wife. Bill Cosby figured to have an unusually strong celebrity shield, but several factors overcame it:
- the amount of evidence against him.
- the fact that what he did represented such a betrayal of his public image
- the judge allowing, in the re-trial, other victims to testify
- the series of previously admired show business figures who have been exposed as predators and sexual abusers since the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck pulled out of the station, and
- the fact that Cosby peak celebrity was decades ago.
If the trial had occurred at the time of “The Cosby Show,” I wonder if any evidence could have convinced a jury to convict him. Continue reading
1. From the Moral Luck files:
What you just saw is a bald eagle landing on Seattle Mariners starter James Paxton’s shoulder during the National Anthem before yesterday’s Mariners-Twins game. Here’s a closer look…
The eagle got confused: it is supposed to go to his trainer, in one of the more spectacular Anthem displays that has ever been devised: I’ve seen this performance several times. After the game, Paxton was asked why he didn’t try to escape. His answer:
“I’m not gonna outrun an eagle, so just thought, we’ll see what happens.”
Heck, he had already endured the horror of Dessa’s incredibly off-key rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” what’s a mere bald eagle attack? Seriously, Paxton’s quote is an ethics guide: Don’t panic, don’t act on emotion, assess the situation, see what happens, and act accordingly. Of course, the fact that this strategy worked out well helps: if the eagle had ripped his eyes out, everyone would be saying Paxton was an idiot not to run.
How I would have loved to see this happen to Colin Kaepernick!
2. How the President gets himself into ethics trouble. I just watched a clip of Trump speaking yesterday about California’s sanctuary cities. “The thing is that these cities are protecting bad people,” he said, with emphasis. Naturally, this will be characterized as racism. It’s not racism, however. The statement is just overly simplistic, and exacerbated in its inflammatory elements by the President’s rudimentary vocabulary, in which the only operable adjectives appear to be great, bad, horrible, wonderful, terrible, sad, and a few more. It is impossible to communicate about complex issues competently and fairly with such meager tools. Illegal immigrants have broken our laws and willfully so. That is not good, but it does not make all of them bad people….though many are. Continue reading
Ethics Observations On The Astounding Yet Predictable Hypocrisy Of Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty
Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn) was quick to demand the Rep. John Conyers resign when the facts surfaced of his habitual sexual harassment of staff and other women. She backed the shaming and eviction of Minnesota Senator Al Franken, another Democrat, based on allegations of sexual misconduct. She has been a vocal champion of the #MeToo movement on Capitol Hill.
But it has all been posturing, for Esty doesn’t embrace the actual principles of It’s Time or #MeToo. Like so many other employers, businesses and cultures, like NBC, CBS, Hollywood, the Weinstein Company, the Metropolitan Opera, the Trump White House, and, of course, the Catholic Church, Esty believes that sexual harassment and sexual abuse are unacceptable and a reason to point fingers and level accusations when someone else does it, enables it or ignores it, but when the abusive employee is your own and is a “high performer,” as in “a star,” it’s different somehow.
When she learned that her own valuable Congressional aide, chief of staff Tony Baker, had engaged in harassment and abuse of Esty’s own female staff members, Esty moved to protect Baker rather than the women. He was not dismissed from his position until three full months after his wrongful and illegal conduct was known to her, continuing to work with the same women he had threatened. Then she signed a non-disclosure agreement and paid him $5000, while also writing a glowing recommendation so he could be free to harass women someplace else. Baker got himself employed by Sandy Hook Promise, a gun control group, which dismissed him after the full story of the reasons behind his leaving Esty’s staff came out last week.
“You better fucking reply to me or I will fucking kill you,” Baker had said in a voice mail message to Estes aide Anna Kain. Kain was granted a restraining order against Baker after she signed a sworn affidavit that the Esty chief of staff punched and threatened to kill her. This and more was still not enough for Rep. Esty to see her way to firing him. Woke is apparently not the same as “awake.” Or sincere. Continue reading