Unethical Quote Of The Week: Donald Trump (Of Course!)

“Take a look. You look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”

Donald Trump, denying People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff’s claim that he “brought her into a room, shut the door, “and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”

This is Trump accuser Cassandra Searles, who, Donald Trump wants us to know, IS the kind of woman he sexually assaults...

This is Trump accuser Cassandra Searles, who, Donald Trump wants us to know, IS the kind of woman he sexually assaults…

This comes as close to being funny as a man running for President who proves his sexism and misogyny even in the act of denying them can be. It is tragic, however.

Trump can’t help himself. He can’t help himself for two reasons. The first reason is that he really does, deep down, believe that women exist on earth for purely the carnal enjoyment of men, particularly wealth and powerful men. This is part of his world view, and he is incapable of changing or learning. When Trump said, in his second pseudo-apology for his recorded 2005 comments, that he had “changed,” implying that he had changed in regard to his enthusiastic endorsement of privileged sexual assault, he was lying, straight up. This comment, which is an ad hominem attack upon and insult to his accuser, proves it, not that the claim wasn’t an obvious lie when he said it in the apology video.

The second reason is that the man literally is incapable of thinking through what he says before he says it. We already knew this, too. He has pitiful self-control, de minimus common sense, and the  judgment of  Ryan Lochte.

In this instance, Trump reminded me of Fredo’s downfall  in “Godfather II,” when mere minutes after he pretends to not know Johnny Ola, Hyman Roth’s henchman (having previously denied to his Godfather brother that he had ever had any contact with him), Fredo loudly contradicts himself by telling the group including his brother that Johnny Ola had recommended the Havana sex club Fredo had brought them to.  Fredo, being an idiot, doesn’t even realize what he has done. Continue reading

NO NO NO Children, Buzzfeed: You May NOT Do This, For It Is Creepy And Unethical

An unethical cascade...

An unethical cascade…

Before we commence, I do want to thank all of you are keeping me away from Hillary and Trump with more horrible ethics stories than I can keep up with.

Now that I’ve got that over with:

In what warped, sick universe is this kind of thing considered ethical?

Gad. It’s a veritable unethical cascade:

First, high school students takes surreptitious photos of their teachers while they should be, you know, getting educated…

Second, the students post the photos, which have not been consented to by the teachers, on Instagram…

Third, the students add salacious or otherwise provocative comments about the teachers as objects of their lust…

Fourth, the bottom-feeding website BuzzFeed picks up the photos and puts them in a feature called “13 Really Hot Teachers That Will Have You Begging For Detention.”…

How unethical is this? Let me count the ways… Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Sexy Safety In The Air

This one’s simple. Watch this New Zealand Air safety video. It was recently pulled, possibly in part because of objections that it sexually objectified women. The video, shown to passengers before take-off, was even the target of a Change.org petition, which one again shows that many U.S. citizens don’t comprehend freedom of speech, and think that the U.S. is a monarchy, perhaps because the President often seems to be under that delusion himself. Now the video:

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for a slow week in ethics (so far):

Is this video disrespectful to women, in bad taste, vulgar or inappropriate?

In the succinct words of Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich: “They’re called boobs, Ed.”

And they are everywhere, and a lot more gratuitously displayed than here. Airlines have a problem getting passengers to pay attention to the safety instructions ( here’s Jerry Seinfeld making some trenchant observations on the dilemma), and having beautiful women in bikinis do the chore is as good a solution as any. Even the critics, prudes and boob-o-phobes must have been paying attention. Harm: minimal to none. Benefits: enough. The video passes utilitarian muster.

It’s also funny. I particularly like the Hawaiians in the dugout demonstrating the crash position.

Pointer: Fred

Facts: ABC


Cover Art Ethics: Sexism, “Rape Culture” or Just Marketing

If you had asked me thirty-five years ago whether we would still be debating what is the appropriate and ethical use of women as sex symbols—or “objectification,” if you like—in non-sex trade publications today, I would have answered, I think, “Are you kidding? By 2014 we will have hashed all this out. Either the combination of consensus  political correctness and the increased influence of women in business in general and publishing in particular will have reformed standards of acceptable practices, manners and taste, or emerging feminism will embrace the power of sexuality as a source of influence and power over the male of the species. The battles over this are too hot now to keep going on indefinitely! Either using sexy women and models in “take me” poses will be considered shameful and unappealing in 2014, or they will be accepted as part of an “anything goes” culture.”

No, I’m not very bright.

Case Study #1: The Golf Digest Cover


The cover of the latest issue of Golf Digest caused a stir by featuring Paulina Gretzky, who plays a little golf but who is primarily a model, and obviously there for other reasons. Until the Gretzky cover, the only woman to appear on the magazine’s cover without having won a pro or major amateur event was Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders, in May 2013. From the New York Times: Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The “Breastaurants”

Playboy bunnies

All right, class…put away your books.

This quiz will count toward your final grade in Ethics 101.

Please watch the following video…about the growing culinary trend of so-called “breastaurants,” Hooters wannabe establishments that sell food service and ogling rights.

Now here is your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today, a multiple choice. Choose as many of the following to describe the trend as you feel is appropriate:

a. This is entertainment, that’s all. Nothing ethically or culturally objectionable at all.


b. If you thought Playboy Clubs and their “Bunnies” were sexist and demeaning to women, you can’t regard these places as harmless. Same thing, different packages, and more unethical now than then, because we supposed  have learned since then.


c. It’s legal and nobody is making the women do anything they don’t want to do. There’s no offense here. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there.


d. Women desperate for a job in a bad market are being forced to debase themselves. They are victims of exploitation and sexism, that is wrong, and anyone who patronizes such a place is encouraging and endorsing unethical conduct.


e.  The very existence of these establishments encourages sexual harassment and discrimination. There is way to legally prevent them, but no ethical person would own or operate such a place.


f. The “Breastaurants” encourage attitudes and conduct that society is trying to discourage, disapprove, and eliminate. They are ethics corrupters.


g. Allowing children in these places is irresponsible.


h. Voluntarily patronizing any of these places is unethical, as it encourages damaging attitudes toward women.


i. All those cheap breast double-entendres in the ABC story were unprofessional and sleazy.


j. Oh, lighten up! Look at movies. Look at TV. Look at cheerleaders. Look at how high school children dress. It’s just sex, that’s all. Weenie!



Good luck.



Graphic: Betseyj

It’s Official: “Gore and the Masseuse” Is An Ethics Train Wreck

Ethics train wrecks, and readers of Ethics Alarms and the Ethics Scoreboard know, are controversies of escalating publicity and complexity in which so many participants engage in bad decisions and unethical conduct that it is difficult to extract any lessons or conclusions from the chaos and rubble.

“The Tale of Al Gore and the Masseuse” began last week as an inexplicably late revelation of a 2006 accusation of alleged sexual assault by Gore on a woman in his Portland hotel room. Initially, it was only unfair and unsubstantiated fodder for Gore’s enemies in the media to ridicule him and assail his character with innuendo. With the revelation, however, that the Portland police decided to re-open an investigation of the matter and the department’s admission of why that the masseuse’s complaint did not warrant a charge when it was finally made in January 2009, the incident can be officially upgraded (downgraded?) to the Ethics Train Wreck status. Continue reading