Unethical Quote of the Week: Tucson Bully Adam M. Smith

“I’m a nice guy, by the way.”

—– Adam M. Smith, ex-CFO at Vante, a Tucson medical supplies manufacturer, in the middle of a two-and-a-half minute abusive dressing down of a Chick-fil-A drive-in employee, which he filmed himself and placed on YouTube.

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Mr. Smith isn’t a nice guy, you see. He’s a vile bully and a jerk, who thinks it appropriate to embarrass and abuse an innocent employee of a restaurant because he happens not to agree with the politics and moral positions of the company’s owner. Whatever his cause may be (I almost wrote “beef,” which would have been inappropriate for a chicken place), there can be no excuse for his choosing as the target of his indignation a minimum wage clerk who has no control, power or influence over the situation, the issue, the controversy or anything, other than getting Smith his order, which in this case was a cup of water. He made her his captive audience for verbal abuse, ignored her objections when she said she didn’t want to be filmed, and generally took the ethical principles of fairness,respect, kindness, proportion, caring, compassion and reciprocity and tore them into little bits to throw in her face. He cannot claim some utilitarian justification , because attacking this poor young woman could logically accomplish nothing positive whatsoever. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Tucson’s NBC Affiliate KVOA

Next  Monday night’s“Law & Order: LA” episode involves “a crazed gunman” who “goes on a rampage at a political rally, killing a state senator.” Sound’s upsetting. Hmmmm...where have I heard of something like that happening?

Oh, right.

Tuscon, Arizona, where the NBC affiliate, KVOA  has decided that residents are not only too traumatized  to view such an episode “ripped from the headlines,” but apparently to be in the same city where anyone else can view it. Station president and general manager Bill Shaw explains that “the Tucson community is still going through the healing process” and NBC’s show has too many similarities to “that horrible day.” KVOA will broadcast the episode on May 17 starting at 1:05 a.m, because…gee, I can’t figure out what the logic is. To make the show as difficult and inconvenient as possible to see for those in the Tucson area who want to see it?  To punish NBC for broadcasting it at all? This is paternalism of the most offensive and insulting kind.

The censorship of the TV episode is an abuse of the station’s responsibility to the community, and if I was in a position to do so, I’d pull KVOA’s license. Who are the station execs to decide what network fare is or isn’t too traumatic for its viewers? Why would a Tuscon resident who would be traumatized by a fictional drama based on January’s tragic events in the city watch the show? Why shouldn’t a viewer who feels up to the task be allowed to see what everyone else in the country is watching? If the episode is a masterpiece, or sets off a national debate, what right does Bill Shaw have to take Tucson citizens—of all people— out of the debate?

The station’s decision is unfair, disrespectful, presumptuous, an abuse of power and, as is often the result of such ingredients, utterly, utterly stupid.