Top Ten Reasons Why Giving Chelsea Clinton A “Lifetime Impact Award” Is Unethical [UPDATED]

Next month, Variety magazine will host its annual “Women in Power” luncheon, and will give “Lifetime Impact  Awards” to several women in the fields of entertainment and public service.Among the honorees will be Chelsea Clinton. Here are the Top Ten Reasons the ridiculous award starts ethics alarms sounding:

1.  The award is incompetent and misleading. Chelsea has done nothing on her own to justify any award. She has been hired for a series of jobs based solely on the prominence of her famous parents, and is on the board of her family foundation, which has funded various humanitarian programs. These are passive achievements that any child of the Clintons would accumulate.

2. The award to Clinton immediately renders worthless Variety’s past and future “Lifetime Impact Awards”  to deserving and worthy recipients. It destroys any claim the award has to integrity and sincerity.

3.  The award is a lie. Chelsea Clinton is in her thirties, and hasn’t accumulated a lifetime, much less a lifetime of laudable achievements. It is grossly premature, contradicting its own title.

4. The award is cruel. It compels focus on the pathetic, privileged, exploited and exploitative existence of Chelsea Clinton thus far by proclaiming it to be something it obviously is not. Continue reading

The Human Ethics Train Wreck, Levi Johnston

Some people think that Sen. John McCain will go down in infamy for turning a little-known Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, into a wild-card political power. His surprise choice of Palin to join him on the 2008 GOP ticket also set into motion a chaotic series of events that have turned an ordinary, not too bright young man into a celebrity monster, allowing him to display his own serious character deficits while simultaneously enticing others into further degrading their own.

To paraphrase the great Basil Faulty: Thank you, ohhh thank you, so bloody much, Sen. McCain, for giving us Levi Johnston! Continue reading

Why Professional Reviewers Are Unethical, and Why We’ll Be Better Off Without Them

When Variety recently announced that it was firing its in-house film and drama critics, there was much tut-tutting and garment-rending over the impending demise of professional reviewing in magazines, newspapers and TV stations. The villain, the renders cry, lies, as in The Case of the Slowly Dying Newspapers, with the web, which allows any pajama-clad viewer of bootleg videos to write film reviews, and any blogger who cares about theater to write a review of a play. “I think it’s unfortunate that qualified reviewers are being replaced,” said one movie industry pundit, “but that’s what’s happening.”

I say, “Good. It’s about time.” (And also: QUALIFIED?”) If there has ever been an excessively influential non-professional profession that caused as much damage as reviewing, I’m not sure I want to know about it. The end of full-time film and drama critics as we know them can only prove to be a boon for artists and audiences alike. Continue reading

Hollywood Ethics: Variety’s Conflict of Interest Problem

That show biz media “bible”, Variety, finally seems to have reached the point where it can no longer pretend that its inherent conflicts of interest don’t exist. The magazine is simultaneously in the business of promoting movies, TV and stage shows, accepting expensive ads from producers, and depending on inside access for its reporting,  yet it purports to offer objective critical reviews of the output of the very people and companies whose patronage it depends upon to exist. It’s an impossible balancing act, and truth be told, Variety reviews have never had much credibility in Hollywood or anywhere else. But whatever pretense of integrity the publication had came crashing down with a lawsuit by Calibra Pictures, a small independent film company that had signed a $400,000 contract with Variety in which the publication promised to help Calibra’s new release, “Iron Cross,” ( featuring the final performance of the late, great, Roy “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” Scheider, who died in 2008) find both a distributor and critical acclaim. [ Ethics Violations #1 and #2Dishonesty and Breach of Integrity: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and don’t sell your independence and objectivity] Continue reading