1. Spitballing ethics? When everyone is throwing out ideas—you know, “Just say whatever crazy thing pops into your head, don’t worry whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, just let ’em rip!” is it fair later to hold someone to account because a discarded idea was offensive or politically incorrect? I tend to think not.
Hiroshi Sasaki, the creative director for Tokyo Olympics, was participating in a brainstorming session about the opening ceremony with members of a committee a year ago, and at one point suggested that a popular overweight female Japanese comedian and plus-size fashion designer, Naomi Watanabe, be costumed in pig ears, perhaps a snout and curly tail, and parachute out of the heavens as an Olympic messenger: “Olympig.”
No? OK, bad idea. Let’s move on. The inspiration received immediate negative reviews in the private meeting, but when the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, 83, resigned this year after saying that women talk too much in meetings, the year-old conversation about “Olympig” was recalled in an article on the website of “Shukan Bunshun,” a weekly magazine. Yes, one of Sasaki’s trusted colleagues had talked. (That’s an easy call: Unethical.)
So you know what comes next, right? Groveling. “Now many people know what I wrote. I cannot apologize enough to Ms. Watanabe,” he said, adding that he was a big fan of hers. “I have been trying not to hurt others by making fun of diversity, gender and physical appearances. But it was a great misunderstanding. I realized my low consciousness and insensitivity.” He resigned.
Now you know that at least for now, when someone says to just suggest whatever pops into your head, no filters, no fear, don’t.
On the positive side, it’s comforting to know that The Great Stupid isn’t just an American phenomenon.