From The Ethics Alarms “What Were They Thinking?” Files: The Weiner Virus

Blockhead

I don’t understand this kind of thing at all. I didn’t understand it when Anthony Weiner nuked his career; I haven’t understood it in similar cases before and since then. The current episode comes from the world of baseball, which apparently had a vote or something last year that all news about the sport had to be embarrassing until the stars turn cold.

Jared Porter, who labored in the trenches for the Boston Red Sox from 2004-15 (there was obviously another vote that all of the worst stories had to be connected to the team I’ve rooted for like a fool since I was 11) and finally scaled the metaphorical ladder and got his dream job, becoming general manager of the New York Mets last month. But the team discovered yesterday that in 2016, while he was was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office, Porter sent graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female sports reporter, includingso-called “dick-pics.”

Mets owner Steve Cohen said Porter was fired this morning. “We have terminated Jared Porter this morning,” Cohen wrote on Twitter. “In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it. There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

Ya think?

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An Activist Writes, “Instagram Censored One Of These Photos But Not The Other. We Must Ask Why.” Isn’t It Obvious Why?

Instagram censorship

Why did Instagram censor one photo and not the other? Easy-peasy:

1. Social media is constantly engaged in mind control. It doesn’t understand satire, and it is especially hostile to any satire of its core market, in the case of Instagram, young, heterosexual women.

2. Human beings and their societies favors the young and beautiful over the not young and less-than-beautiful, and no amount of complaining and protesting is going to change that. Call it “systemic lookism.”

3. Trusting social media to be fair or intelligent is naïve and foolish.

The back-story: Last week Australian comic Celeste Barber posted a parody images of her imitating a post from former Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel.  Instagram censored it, saying that it “goes against our community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity” The identical pose of the conventionally alluring Swanepoel, however, was deemed just fine when it was posted. The Horror!

The “gotcha!” worked;  Instagram  apologized and restored Barber’s version.

Observations:

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Sunset Ethics, 9/30/2020: Conflicts Of Interest, Sexual Harassment, Movies And Lies

1. Conflicts of interest on my mind. I narrowly averted a disastrous conflict of interest yesterday out of pure moral luck, so the topic is much on my mind; I’m still distracted by the near miss. Professionally, it was the equivalent of almost being picked off by a bus.

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg reacted to the death of Justice Ginsburg with an essay on her 48-year friendship with RBG, saluting Ginsburg’s “extraordinary character.” That’s funny: Totenberg never told NPR’s listeners, nor did  NPR, that she had a personal relationship with the Justice, despite being charged with covering the Court and critiquing its decisions.  Kelly McBride, NPR’s public editor and senior vice president of the Poynter Institute, threw a metaphorical ethics foul flag,

“In failing to be transparent about Totenberg’s relationship with Ginsburg over the years, NPR missed two opportunities,”she wrote on the NPR website. “First, NPR leaders could have shared the conversations they were having and the precautions they were taking to preserve the newsroom’s independent judgment,” McBride said. “Second, having those conversations in front of the public would have sharpened NPR’s acuity in managing other personal conflicts of interest among its journalists.”

Ginsburg, who officiated at Totenberg’s wedding in 2000. Nonetheless, the correspondent,  who wears her progressive bias on her sleeve as it is, denied that the conflict compromised to her journalism, telling  the Washington Post that NPR’s listeners benefited from ther friendship because it gave her greater insight into and Ginsburg’s  thinking.

And that justifies keeping the relationship secret from listeners how, Nina?

2. From the “When ethics alarms don’t work” files: Lawyer Phillip Malouff Jr. of La Junta, Colorado, was censured for a series of episodes of unprofessional behavior and sexual harassment.

In November 2016, Malouff  winked at a magistrate judge and said, “When you get back from your vacation, I better be able to see your tan lines.” When he visiting the same magistrate’s chambers to discuss scheduling matters, he  said, according to the female judge,: “Ask your husband a question for me when you get home tonight. Ask him what it’s like to have relations with someone who wears the robe. It has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but there have never been any women judges until now.”

Malouff  was informed that his comments were unprofessional and a violation of the Colorado Judicial Department’s anti-harassment policy. Ya think?

In July 2019, Malouff asked a judicial assistant to check whether the mother in a parental rights hearing had an outstanding warrant. When the assistant replied, “She is good.” Malouff  responded, “Her husband told me that she is good.

Wink wink, nudge nudge. Continue reading

Joe Biden, The Human Lawn Chair

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States…”

I’ve been thinking about what would be the fair and expository Ethics Alarms nickname for Joe Biden, and I’ve settled on “The Lawn Chair,” or TLC for short.

In 2016, I wrote repeatedly in posts and comments that I would vote for a lawn chair over Donald Trump, using the same standard that I had applied in the past to first term Presidents who I had found unacceptably incompetent or untrustworthy (Nixon, Carter, Bush I, and Bill Clinton). Joe Biden, in his drastically diminished 2020 model, is the closest thing a U.S. Presidential contest has had to an actual lawn chair, and it is clear that those preparing to vote for him to lead the nation at this critical time would literally vote for a lawn chair over President Trump. In this there is epic hypocrisy.

Feminists who once proclaimed that sexual harassment and sexual assault, determined on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations, were sufficient to disqualify a man for high public office are supporting Biden, who has been photographed numerous times engaging in sexual harassment as Vice-President, and has been accused “credibly” (as they said about Brett Kavanaugh’s less than credible accuser) of sexual assault. Heck, one such feminist is his running mate. Soft coup proponents who have argued that President Trump is sufficiently cognitively handicapped that the 25th Amendment should be employed to remove him are supporting Biden, who is obviously more mentally impaired now than Trump has ever been even in the fever dreams of progressives.

Then there is the lying. Continue reading

Now THIS Is The Streisand Syndrome: The Strange Saga Of Professor Bruce Hay

You have to go to the links; I can’t do justice to this story without giggling. Primarily, I want to highlight this epic mess because it’s the best example of the Streisand Effect ever, a situation where an attempt to seek redress for an alleged smear brings more publicity to negative details about the supposed victim far beyond  anything the original conduct could have. To make the fiasco more juicy still, here is a Harvard Law professor revealing himself as an utter fool, and engaging in a frivolous—that is, unethical— attempt to use “sexual harassment” to apply to “you used your feminine whiles to manipulate me, and I fell for it.”

Sexual harassment doesn’t mean that.

The hilariously baroque story involves… Continue reading

Sorry, Gandhi: Hunger Strikes Are Unethical, And Organizations Should Not Respond To Them

Maha Alshawi, a Dartmouth graduate student in the computer science department, accused computer science professor Alberto Quattrini Li of multiple incidents of sexual misconduct. She also accused science department chair Prasad Jayanti  of unfairly failing her on an exam and giving her a “low pass” as a teaching assistant as retaliation  after she raised concerns about Li. The student has called on Dartmouth to conduct a “clear and fair investigation” of the alleged harassment. The College, however, has stated that it has concluded evaluating the allegations through all applicable procedures.

On July 14, the first-year Ph.D. student began a  hunger strike , publicly posting on Facebook that she would not eat  “because the Title IX office conducted [an] unfair assessment” of her case. Seven days later,  Dartmouth announced that it would conduct another review of Alshawi’s claims if she agreed to end her protest and seek medical attention. She would not agree.

This week, on the 22nd day of Alshawi’s hunger strike, Dartmouth announced that it will launch an external investigation into her harassment allegations.  Alshawi says  she will not stop her hunger strike and will  begin a “thirst strike,” refusing to eat or drink until the external investigation has officially begun.

The College wrote in its statement that “in the interest of [Alshawi’s] safety and in keeping our commitment to Ms. Alshawi,” an external investigation would be opened “in addition to the extensive assessment and multiple reviews Dartmouth has previously undertaken.”

Dartmouth’s capitulation is irresponsible and incompetent.  The school has done nothing to jeopardize Alshawi’s safety. She is threatening herself. In fact, this “Blazing Saddles” scene comes to mind: Continue reading

Zoom Ethics: “Your Boss Should Not Be Asking You To Wear Makeup On Zoom”? Your Boss Should Not Be Asking You To Wear Makeup, Period…

From a woman’s lament on Refinery29:

While Caroline was trying to establish a strict work-life balance — despite rarely leaving her apartment — she still found herself mindlessly checking her emails ahead of the week. That’s when she noticed a message pop up from her executive director. In the email, which was addressed to the entire company, her boss provided tips and resources for “looking good on video calls” — from lighting and backgrounds to personal hygiene. While his advice to invest in an advanced webcam setup infuriated Caroline (because of income disparities within her company), she was most bewildered by his suggestion to wear makeup. “While it’d be bad advice at any time for playing into sexism, it just felt incredibly tone-deaf during this particular time,” she tells Refinery29. “It was demoralizing. It’s not appropriate to be talking to women about their appearance and much less so during a crisis.”

Caroline isn’t alone. On social media, you’ll find many women sharing their frustrations of being told they look tired or less engaged, and some have even reported managers who flat-out ordered them to wear makeup for video calls. “I’ve had more than one Zoom meeting where my boss has asked if I’m tired. This is just my face without makeup,” wrote one Twitter user. “First day we had a meeting, my boss said, ‘You guys didn’t put on any makeup!”

Whoa! A male superior telling a woman she has to wear make-up in the workplace is potentially sexual harassment. It’s also just plain wrong. Don’t we know this by now? Continue reading

Democrats Now Stand With Bill Maher On Tara Reade And Joe Biden, Which Tells Us All We Need To Know About #MeToo And Democrats

Former actress Rose McGowan, an alleged Harvey Weinstein rape victim, among the most dedicated #MeToo advocates, and a pariah in Hollywood for her penchant for calling out harassers (like Ben Affleck) and grandstanding hypocrites (like Alyssa Milano), directly accused Bill Maher of sexual harassment yesterday in a tweet:

This won’t trouble Maher or presumably his fans and viewers, because Maher has made it crystal clear for his entire, ugly career as a clown nose on/ clown nose off pundit that he doesn’t see anything wrong with sexual harassment. He believes women exist on earth for his convenience and pleasure. He is a pure misogynist, who has repeatedly called women who don’t conform to his ideological cast “cunts” and “twats” (as his audience guffaws). When Bill Clinton was battling through Monica Madness, Maher opined that Clinton should have said, ‘Yeah, I had sex with an intern, and I deserve to, because I’m President!” (Maher wasn’t kidding, just as Clinton  wasn’t kidding when he essentially confirmed Maher’s assumption by writing in his autobiography that he exploited Lewinsky “because he could.”) It goes without saying that Maher also thinks that #MeToo is a crock.

And I guess, based on so many of its vocal  supporters’ words and conduct recently, he must be right.

Do I believe that Maher said what McGowan claims? The former “Scream” star is perpetually furious, but she has also been consistently honest. Maher used (and probably still uses) his panels as a dating bar (Rose was really hot in the 90s), and his quote sounds like something he might say to an attractive  female guest; heck, he’s said worse on the air. Bill hasn’t responded yet; I bet that if he does, he’ll say something like, “Sure, I said it. Why shouldn’t I? It’s true!” And his peanut gallery will cheer.

This brings us to Maher’s pronouncement on his show last week regarding the Tara Reade accusation, which she elaborated on in a graphic interview with former NBC News and Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly last week. Continue reading

No, Eva Murry’s Icky Story About Joe Biden Doesn’t Make Tara Reade’s Accusation More Credible [UPDATED!]

Cool your jets, conservative media.

Two days ago, Law and Crime, usually a partisan website on the Democratic side, posted the detailed allegation of Eva Murry, a 26-year-old woman who is engaged and has two children. The site treated it as a major scoop (“A woman says she was sexually harassed by presumptive Democratic Party Presidential nominee Joe Biden when she was 14 years old”) and the conservative news media picked up the ball and ran for the metaphorical goal-line. Fox News wrote, “A woman related to a former Republican Senate candidate is accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual harassment…The claim comes as Biden is denying a separate allegation made by former staffer Tara Reade that he sexually assaulted her in 1993.” Further down the food chain—much further— the Trump-boosting blog WS sported the headline, “Report: Another Biden Accuser Comes Forward, Says He Sexually Harassed Her When She Was Only 14-Years-Old,” and began, “Yet another Biden accuser has come forward with a disgusting story of sexual harassment.”

Eva Murry’s account has absolutely no relevance to Tara Reade’s allegations of sexual assault. None. It should not be treated as if it does.

In an earlier post, I listed the three reasons why I am dubious of Reade’s accusation. The first is that she took so long to make her accusation public, a problem she shares with Dr. Blasey Ford and Anita Hill, among others. Second, the accusation looks and feels like a politically-motivated attack, another feature redolent of Hill and Ford. Third, such accusations are always suspect when they are alone.

It’s still alone. Murry’s story is the kind of “this guy is a creep” tale that came from all sides at Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign. We know Biden is a creep, or should; it doesn’t provide any reason to believe he is capable of sexual assault no matter how hard his adversaries try to spin it. Continue reading

The Amazing, Depressing But Not Especially Surprising Tara Reade Hypocrisy Rolls

Amber Athey of the American Spectator did a service for  open-minded Americans who care about integrity and who were under the impression that the Democratic Party had any.  She assembled a list of 35 enthusiastic Democratic endorsers of Joe Biden as the party’s 2020 nominee, and tracked down their passionate exclamations regarding Christine Blasey-Ford’s less-corroborated allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh.

Her list is quite long, but essential reading: a more stomach-churning demonstration of grandstanding (then) and hypocrisy (now) would be difficult to find.  In some cases, it is amusing: these hacks could be so self-righteous about the holy credibility of a woman accusing a Republican, and decry the blackened souls of anyone who didn’t immediately accept her as  an unquestionable truth-teller, yet they won’t even acknowledge Biden’s equally female and more than equally credible accuser. Not only that, they are apparently certain that such blatant double-standards won’t trouble the progressive herd.

Well, maybe they are right. We shall see. we shall see just how corrupt that herd has become.

The list reinforces Reade’s words in an interview on Fox News over the weekend. She said in part,

“I’d like my history with Biden to be examined in a dignified way that’s not slanted by political bias or sensationalized. I’d like a deeper conversation about the fact that sexual harassment and sexual assault do not have a political party, agenda. “It’s an equal opportunity offender….I mean, it doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is, and it shouldn’t as far as the media coverage regarding claims.”…

“Blasey Ford, because it was a conservative candidate they were going to put in the Supreme Court, was treated with much more deference by most of the media outlets… I’ve basically had no substantive support from women’s groups that are considered liberal or Democratic. I’ve had no support from any Democratic candidate, although I’ve reached out. And I’ve received either slanted reporting that ended up being talking points for Biden’s campaign or silence from the mainstream media… what I would like to say to them at this point and some of the silence from some the candidates Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren that at this point, if you continue to silence me, if you continue to engage in protecting a powerful man without giving my case a closer look, you are complicit in rape”

Normally I’d append my observations after such a list, but this one is just too long. There is also material here for dozens of Ethics Dunce, Incompetent Elected Official, and Unethical Quote posts—an embarrassment of embarrassments, you might say. Here are a relatively restrained number of rueful observations:

  • In addition to the obvious hypocrisy, and repulsive grandstanding these quotes represent, they also raise the question of whether some or perhaps any of these people really care about sexual harassment and sexual assault at all, or if it is just mass posturing and virtue signaling for short term political gain.

I do not see how any genuine feminist or anti-sexual harassment and assault activist, inspired by Blasey-Ford’s testimony, could make the sweeping statements about victims, women, justice, and the importance of the position Kavanaugh was seeking that you read below, and then, when their party’s  presumptive nominee for President is accused of an even more shocking assault,  ignore the  alleged victim and proceed with a pro forma endorsement. How can they do that? How can they not be embarrassed? How can their supporters, or anyone, ever trust or respect them again?

  • I  raise the same question regarding the #MeToo leaders, feminists, female Democrats, and men who, like me, support efforts to take sexual harassment out of the workplace.  The feminist movement lost me–I was once a NOW member—when it reversed its position on sexual harassment by male bosses to protect Bill Clinton when he was lying about Monica. (Bill was pro-abortion, you see.) This is worse. The emotional outcries of feminist activists in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations were absolute and unequivocal. Where are the  #MeToo leaders to take up the cause of Tara Reade? Where is Tarana Burke, Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon, Mira Sorvino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep,  Patricia Arquette, Angelina Jolie, Alyssa Milano (Well, we know where she is—pretending that her continued support for Biden in light of her #MeToo fanaticism doesn’t make her, and the movement, look ridiculous), or Fatima Goss Graves  of the National Women’s Law Center? Where, for that matter, is Hillary Clinton? If they believed what they said they did, if they weren’t lying and posturing before, they would be supporting Reade.

Heck, I argued in sexual harassment trainings eight months ago that women and Democrats supporting Joe Biden with his photographic record of harassment…you know…

were undercutting public support for and understanding of  sexual harassment laws. It’s more than hypocritical. It’s stupid.

  • Which of the hypocrites below deserves special contempt? It’s hard to top Elizabeth Warren, the party’s Demogogue Queen, who has announced that she would be proud to be Handsy Joe’s VP. Yet she said, “Many survivors of sexual assault choose not to speak out, for a thousand different reasons. But when they do, they deserve to be heard. The events described by Julie Swetnick, Ms Ramirez & Dr Ford are absolutely heart-wrenching.’

Boy she’s awful!

The fake complaints of Swetnick and Ramirez, now thoroughly discredited, broke her heart, but she snubs Reade as if she were a descendant of General Custer. Then there’s Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who proclaimed, “This is a serious allegation, and we have a responsibility to listen….For too long, our political system has shut out the voices of women & silenced the stories behind the #MeToo movement.” How can he look at himself in the mirror after endorsing Biden?

Well, don’t get me started,. As I said, there are dozens this bad.(But be sure you check out Rep. Barbara Lee.)

  • The words you will keep reading are “bravery,” ” all women,” “credible,” “victims,” “right to be heard,” “speaking truth to power”…all of which apply at least as much to Tara Reade as the did to Blasey-Ford. What’s the difference?

You know what the difference is.

  • It’s a silver lining, I suppose, that the fiasco chronicled below is useful as a great unmasking, although the most exposed are generally those whose lack of integrity should have been obvious anyway. Here, for example, is the hideous Senator Hirono:

“…we are standing together because we #BelieveWomen…this is why the #MeToo movement is so important, because often in these situations, there is an environment where people see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing. That is what we have to change.”

Well, I could write about this forever, and I’m tempted.  But it’s time to view the hypocrisy parade…beginning with Barack Obama (Michelle? Has anyone heard from Michelle? Hello?) , and the Speaker, who endorsed Joe Biden yesterday.

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