Stop Making Me Defend Chris Cuomo! Ethics Dunce: Former ABC Executive Producer Shelley Ross

Shelley-Ross-slams-Chris-Cuomo

Time once again to revisit the obnoxious feature of sexual harassment complaints that I tried to enlighten NPR listeners about when I was rudely cut off by my alleged friend, NPR host Michel Martin, who chose anti-Trump bias over what I was there for: to explain what almost no one understands about sexual harassment, including, apparently, Martin. (Yes, I am still furious about this episode, which resulted in my being black-balled from NPR, which I had assisted on short notice for several years. I will keep referencing it until I receive a full apology from Martin, and maybe a gift, which, of course, will happen when NPR starts being non-partisan, or in other words, never.)

My point in the fateful appearance on NPR years ago was that middle-aged (or older) men of power, celebrity and influence are often at risk from a phenomenon that springs from the weird aspect of sexual harassment as both a law and a phenomenon. It isn’t sexual harassment if it is genuinely welcome and appreciated by who would otherwise be the victim. However, neither the law nor the culture considers the situation in which a victim changes his or her mind over time. Thus a young, rich, single, famous young buck impulsively kisses a young woman in his employ, and she is thrilled. Maybe he really likes her! Maybe this is a life-changing event! She is neither offended nor upset, so it isn’t sexual harassment. Then decades pass, and the impulsive kisser is no longer young. Worse, he’s hated by all of the former employee’s friends, and that impulsive kiss all those years ago is no long welcome—except as a way to embarrass and hurt the current version of the rich and powerful man she once admired and even lusted after. She has decided now that she was harassed (or even sexually assaulted) then.

Is that fair? Is that even sexual harassment? As far as I can determine, I am the only commentator, ethicist or lawyer who has raised that question, and my reward for it was to be accused of being a Trump apologist, though my comment was not restricted to accusations against Donald Trump. The related ethical issue is whether it is fair and just for a women who took no action to report an incident that might have been harassment for decades keeps the incident in reserve just in case it might come in useful–to destroy the reputation of the man involved, shake him down, or otherwise harm him while benefiting herself. It’s like a treasure squirreled away to be cashed in on a rainy day.

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Ethics Observations On The Cuomo Resignation [Updated And Expanded]

cuomo resigns

Just as the news media and others had convinced themselves that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was determined to draw out the impeachment process, insist on his innocence and remain defiant, he resigned, saying today that he would officially step down in 14 days.

I cannot find a full text of Cuomo’s resignation speech, not is there a video that WordPress lets me embed. You can watch it here.

Ethics Observations:

1. Good. Everything else aside, resigning was the right thing to do, and the best outcome for the state. It doesn’t matter if the resignation itself was graceful or appropriately contrite— it wasn’t—or whether Cuomo would have stayed on and roiled the government indefinitely if he thought he could survive. It’s the most ethical decision even if his reasons for it and his method of doing so were unethical.

2. Hanging around for two weeks after resigning is unusual for an elected official resigning during a scandal. Cuomo will be a kind of super-lame duck. In theory, saying two weeks to help with an orderly transition is responsible. In practice, I expect it to be chaotic. He may not last the full 14 days.

3. Cuomo began his announcement by attacking the accusations against him and the process that brought hum down. So much for accepting accountability and admitting wrongdoing. He blamed the political environment (“there are many motivations at play, if anyone thought otherwise they would be naive”), his political enemies, social media, and rapid cultural changes that were just too darn sudden. He never admitted that he did something wrong. Incredibly, Cuomo presented himself up as a victim.

4. And, incredibly enough, a selfless hero. “I work for you and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you because as we say, it’s not about me, it’s about we,” Cuomo said, agreeing that fighting the wave of opposition in the wake of the sexual harassment accusations would throw New York into months of turmoil. “I cannot be the cause of that,” he said. “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government. And therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you” What a guy! This is, as we know by now, standard face-saving strategy. It’s still nauseating when it is not accompanied by a genuine apology and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

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A Show Of Hands, Please! Who Is Surprised To Learn That “Time’s Up,” Like #MeToo, Is Partisan, Hypocritical, And Tainted By Double Standards?

I assume only those so gullible that they are constantly falling for Ponzi schemes and hanging on Chris Cuomo’s every word have their hands up.

The #MeToo brigade that screamed that Justice Bret Kavanaugh was a “rapist” based on the weirdly vague “discovered memories” of an alleged victim who knew the SCOTUS nominee before he could vote went on to overwhelmingly vote for a Presidential candidate whose serial sexual harassment habit was a matter of photographic record. Now we learn that the leadership of Time’s Up, an organization formed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations (well, revelations in the sense that all of the Democrats and Hollywood stars who had willfully ignored them finally had to give in) that has the started mission of fighting sexual harassment and sexual assault—at least when Democrats aren’t involved, were involved in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to stifle the women accusing him of — sexual harassment and sexual assault!

The report issued last week by the New York Attorney General’s office found overwhelming evidence that Cuomo of sexually harassed eleven women. The report, also revealed that Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of the anti-harassment group as well as a co-founder, reviewed a draft of an op-ed letter that was designed to discredit Lindsay Boylan, the first woman to accuse Cuomo. The group’s CEO, Tina Tchen, also advised Cuomo and his staff, according to the report. Nice.

Today a group of victims of harassment t and sexual assault published a letter on Medium accusing that Time’s Up of betraying “the very people it was supposed to champion. The board continues to fail to heed the outcry from survivors. TIME’S UP is failing all survivors.”

Now Kaplan has resigned as chair, writing that as a lawyer, she could not answer questions about her involvement with Cuomo. “I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” she wrote. So far, Tchen is still with the group.

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Breaking! Joe Biden Wins The Gold Medal For Sexual Harassment Cluelessness With His Comments On Gov. Cuomo!

Biden creepy

Unbelievable.

Jeez, somebody tell him…please? Not only are the President’s comments on the findings released yesterday by New York state Attorney General Letitia James regarding NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s serial sexual harassment, including his call for Cuomo to resign, are embarrassing and inappropriate, they are also…hmmm, let’s see if I can cover them all…

  • …the babbling of an Ethics Dunce and legal ignoramus who still doesn’t know what sexual harassment is, despite having engaged in it for decades as well as having been photographed while engaging in while Vice-President….
  • …a blinding example of hypocrisy and ethics estoppel, since while it is true that Cuomo should resign, Biden, of all people, as a sexual harasser himself, is among the last people on Earth (along with Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein and a few others)  who has any business saying so…
  • …an Olympics-level achievement in ethics ignorance, as it not only pulls down gold medals in Ethics Duncery but also Unethical Quote of the Month, Incompetent Elected Official, Ethics Corrupter, and Jack Marshall Head Exploder (not to mention the blasts, perhaps fatal, also triggered in the craniums of Tara Reade, Lucy Flores, Amy Lappos, D.J. Hill, Caitlyn Caruso, Ally Call, Sofie Karasek, Vail Kohnert-Yount and others who experienced sexual harassment from Biden…

….in addition to the fact that it is an abuse of power and position for the President of the United States to inject himself into the matters of New York State, the justice system, and the fate of a duly elected official put in place by the citizens of New York. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/28/2021: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Jack Marshall Sr Army portrait

I’ll be visiting the Major (and Mom) at Arlington National Cemetery this weekend.

1. Well, let’s start the morning and end the week with evidence of progress…Mickey Callaway, the former manager of the New York Mets and recently fired pitching coach of the California Angels, has seen his baseball career implode because of what appears to be a habit of harrassing women in his workplace, which is Major League Baseball. Callaway, who has been banned from the game at least through 2022 after an investigation of the complaints made by more than five women, released a statement that is as close to a Level One apology on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale as one is likely to see. That’s this one:

An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.

Here’s Callaway’s version:

“My family and I fully support MLB’s strong stance against harassment and discrimination and are grateful to the Commissioner and his office for their thorough investigation. I apologize to the women who shared with investigators any interaction that made them feel uncomfortable. To be clear, I never intended to make anyone feel this way and didn’t understand that these interactions might do that or violate MLB policies. However, those are my own blind spots, and I take responsibility for the consequences.In my 25 years in professional baseball I have never taken for granted the privilege of being even a small part of this great game of ours. To say I regret my past poor choices would be an understatement. I remain hopeful that I can return to baseball when eligible at the conclusion of next season, but for now, I plan to work on my own shortcomings and repairing any damage I have caused with my colleagues and, particularly, my family.”

Joe Biden could have made that exact apology, without the baseball reference, of course. He never had to.

2. Incompetent question, perfect answer:

Monica tweet

Those are eye-roll emojis. Monica also gets points for brevity. She just missed tying author Victor Hugo for the record for shortest published message, in his case, a telegram to his publisher regarding the fate of his submitted manuscript for “Les Miserables.” Hugo wrote “?“. The publisher replied, “!“.

I won’t even take away ethics points from Monica for pandering to the Worst of the Woke by listing her preferred pronouns.

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PM Ethics Medley, 5/26/2021: It’s A Strange, Strange World

Pastiche

1. Priorities! Major League Baseball has placed Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway on its ineligible list through at least the 2022 season, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced. The league made the decision after investigating Callaway for sexual sexual harassment allegations reaching back several years, with several female sporstwriters among the alelged victims. The Angels fired Callaway this afternoon. Opines a major baseball news site: “Callaway is facing a year-plus ban, and it seems hard to believe any MLB team will hire him when he’s eligible to return.”

Hmmmm…

Alex Cora was suspended and fired as manager by the Boston Red Sox after a one-year suspension, then immediately hired back by the team. All he did was play a major role in devising a cheating scheme for one team, the Houston Astros, that extended through the play-offs and World Series, then oversaw a second team, Boston, that was found to have engaged in cheating, though less extensively, the next season. Cora’s cheating scheme with Astros was unprecedented, and cost two other professionals their jobs and the Astros millions in fines,while seriously scarring the integrity of the game. The conduct Callaway engaged in has been routine among professional athletes for decades, though in his case it was apparently 1) a bit more extreme than the norm and 2) “unwelcome.” After all, he was just a coach. So far, nobody has accused a player making more than $10 million a year of making sexual advances that were “unwelcome.’

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Ex-Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Scott Miller For Governor Of NY!

Scott Miller

I jest.

Sort of.

Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Scott Miller has resigned his post after brushing off complaints from women in his party regarding Salt Lake County Republican Party communications director Dave Robinson’s pattern of harassment, body-shaming and more.

Miller, who was running for the state Republican chair, had trivialized the allegations as petty squabbling. It was pretty obviously more than that. For example, after Salt Lake County Council candidate Laurie Stringham created a campaign video for donors in which she said, “Support Laurie Stringham for Salt Lake County Council, so when Mayor [Jenny] Wilson says ‘more, more, more,’ we can say ‘no, no, no!’,” she said that Robinson called her to complain about the spot.

“You sound like you’re having an orgasm!” Robinson shouted at her over her car’s speakerphone. He then repeated her “more, more, more” catchphrase with obscene grunting sounds., and told her that if she wanted to “whore herself out, that was her choice.” Then, Stringham said, Robinson shouted, “I will make sure you never get elected! I will ruin you! And I will make sure the party never works with you! Get your shit together!’” and hung up.

Robinson, who is openly gay, was accused of similar abuse by several women, who said he referred to them in demeaning, derogatory and sexual terms, attempted to bully them, and even withheld important campaign resources unless they wrote opinion pieces about his favorite issues. Yet the party chair, Miller, refused to investigate or take their concerns seriously. To the contrary, he attacked Robinson’s critics on the county party’s official email last week, naming all of the women coming forward and questioning their motives.

“Are these persons and possibly their special interest backers attempting to embarrass and cancel me and our volunteers?” Miller asked in part. “I will not be CANCELLED.” Hilariously, after these remarks received condemnation from everyone (including Utah’s Republican governor) but Robinson, Miller performed a spectacular if unconvincing flip-flop, and tweeted,

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Sorry, I Can’t Let This Pass: The Number Of Women Accusing Gov. Cuomo Of Harassment Or Worse Just Jumped from 7 To 37

Cuomo billboard

Yesterday evening, noting the the “Love Guv’s” accusers had risen to seven, I wrote, I thought in jest, “Oooh…Bill Cosby must be getting worried!” Now the Cos, who has over 50 women who say he drugged and molested them, really might wonder if Cuomo is a threat to his record. For The Independent reports,

A New York Magazine report outlines 30 new women accusing Andrew Cuomo with a litany of various allegations. As a result, several say they had to go to therapy, take anti-depressants, and call a suicide hotline….One of Cuomo’s speechwriters accused him of “racialized abuse” and said that she was only hired to “fill a quota”. Accuser Ana Liss, 35, told New York Magazine “started pursuing mental-health services when I was there because I thought I was going crazy. My parents thought I was going nuts”. “I was angry and crying all the time, and I went on Lexapro,’ she added. ‘I did call in to a suicide hotline because I felt like such a friggin’ nobody.”

The sudden jump in accusers is a surprise, but not the mounting total. After accuser #2 came forward, I wrote, “[T] he acid test for sexual harassment (and worse) is whether there are additional victims who come forward after the first one breaks the silence. Cuomo is now up to two. It’s a safe bet there are more.” Mark that as one more fact that the mainstream news media withheld that readers here were alerted to.

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Maybe Cheerleading Isn’t Unethical, It’s Just Useless And Encourages Unethical Values…Like In This Case

Sexy-Redskins-cheerleaders

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Raffaela Spone anonymously sent the coaches of her high school student daughter’s cheerleading squad “deepfake’ photos and videos that depicted the girl’s competitors nude, drinking, or smoking to get them kicked off the team. She also sent the manipulated images to the girls, and urged them to kill themselves, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub’s office said.

Nice! Of course, the woman is insane. Still, there have been far too many episodes like this. One is too many.

On a utilitarian scale, cheerleading is so deep in negative territory that it couldn’t see the positive side with super-vision. It is, of course, the epitome of presenting girls and women as sex objects while pretending that it is something else. The alleged function, “leading cheers,” is gratuitous and annoying, like those “Cheer!” commands on baseball park electronic scoreboards, or “Charge!” trumpet riff. Home crowds know when to cheer; I’ll cheer when I feel like it, thanks: BACK OFF!

But everyone knows that’s not why cheerleading squads exist. In pro sports, they are blatant eye-candy for middle-aged male fans and sexual prey for the players. Otherwise, why not have male cheerleaders? (Yes, yes, I know some schools have them). As an earlier post here pointed out,

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Mid-Day Ethics Supplement 3/4/21: It’s Constitution Day!

us-constitution-01a

Not that the U.S. actually has a holiday memorializing the first day our fledgling nation began operation under the most important secular ethics document in world history, but our priorities are thoroughly messed up right now, as you no doubt know.

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, 38 of the 41 delegates signed the new U.S. Constitution. Article VII stated that the document would not be official until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut quickly ratified it, but the other states, led by Massachusetts, opposed the Constitution for, among other things, its lack of protection for basic rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press, and the right to bear arms. In February of 1788, the states reached a compromise. Massachusetts and other states agreed to ratify the document with the stipulation that the amendments, eventually called the Bill of Rights, would be incorporated. On that basis the new Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the crucial ninth state to ratify. Government under the U.S. Constitution was scheduled to begin on March 4, 1789 and so it did.

On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States adopted the 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution called the Bill of Rights, prompting last hold-outs of the 13 original colonies, North Carolina and Rhode Island, to finally ratify the Constitution.

1. David Brooks take notice: This is how it is done.…Normally I would make this item a main post: From the Times today…

While serving as transportation secretary during the Trump administration, Elaine Chao repeatedly used her office staff to help family members who run a shipping business with extensive ties to China, a report released Wednesday by the Transportation Department’s inspector general concluded. The inspector general referred the matter to the Justice Department in December for possible criminal investigation. But in the weeks before the end of Trump administration, two Justice Department divisions declined to do so.

I have a personal conflict of interest in matters involving Ms. Chao, rendering it impossible for me to be objective regarding her conduct. Decades ago, my friend and mentor Tom Donahue at the U.S. Chamber set up a meeting with the then Bush Labor Secretary to discuss possible employment options and leads. To say that she treated me rudely would be a gross understatement. I have seldom been so unprofessionally treated in my life, and the extent of her abuse was signature significance: fair, ethical, good people don’t ever treat anyone that way, not even once.

You should read the article—the Times doesn’t pull any punches, since Chao is a) a Republican b) a Trump Cabinet member and c) Mitch McConnell’s wife—but I will mention this part, which I would have if I had never had a preview into the rottenness that is Elaine Chou, since its dishonesty and contempt for the public’s intelligence speaks for itself:

Ms. Chao had declined to respond to questions from the inspector general and instead provided a memo that detailed the importance of promoting her family as part of her official duties. “Anyone familiar with Asian culture knows it is a core value in Asian communities to express honor and filial respect toward one’s parents,” the September 2020 memo said. “Asian audiences welcome and respond positively to actions by the secretary that include her father in activities when appropriate,” it continued.

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