Tag Archives: Celebrity

Fair Weather Employers

The Weather Channel, currently marketing itself as a television channel worth millions, perhaps billions, to would be buyers, faces the bad choices made by the leadership of that channel. Instead of firing Bob Stokes when the first female co-anchor complained of sexual harassment, management moved the co-anchor to an unfavorable overnight shift and kept the viewer favorite Stokes on t.v. Once a second female co-anchor complained of sexual harassment and on-air retaliation for the rebuffed advances by Stokes, management followed the same actions. Later, the channel notified the co-anchor her contract would not be renewed.

But this time, Hillary Andrews, the second co-anchor, took action. Ultimately, the matter ended up before an arbitrator and both parties AGREED to keep the decision confidential. This agreement should prohibit the publication of the arbitrator’s decision, however, a Federal Judge will make that call ultimately.

The Weather Channel is not denying any of the allegations made by Andrews and fired Stokes.

Should the Weather Channel be rewarded for ignoring sexual harassment complaints, encouraging that behavior by demoting the victims and doing nothing apparent for their star? NO. Should the entertainment industry (yep, Weather Channel included) be held to a different standard than other employers? No. Decisions made by management sought to protect and retain a popular on-air host and devalued and dehumanized two women.

Whether or not the arbitrator’s decision in made public-ANY COMPANY SEEKING TO PURCHASE THE WEATHER CHANNEL should be wary of management. As part of their investigation prior to purchase, suitors should demand a copy of the arbitrator’s decision, I’m sure Ms. Andrews’ and her counsel would not object.

The Weather Channel management created this problem for itself by fostering Stokes’ behavior. Now, the management and the Channel will suffer the financial consequences.

Thank you, Ms. Andrews.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2008/05/07/channel_0508.html

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Hot Celebrity Accessory: Mugshot

No wonder children and teenagers fail to understand why following the rules and staying out of trouble will benefit them.

Over the weekend, three NFL players joined the new trend. Although, Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts wasn’t arrested, Harrison is under investigation in a shooting outside a Philadelphia establishment that he owns. Cedric Benson of the Bears was stopped while driving a boat. Michael Boley, Atlanta Falcons, allegedly beat up his wife.

The media hype around Brittany Spears’ custody hearing that hasn’t happened yet is disgusting. The Brittany hiatus is over. Lindsey Lohan complains about the use of her mugshot in an ad.

The media only minimally covered Keifer Sutherland’s admission to DUI and his voluntary incarceration. Sutherland took responsibility for his actions and has hopefully gotten some treatment. Also, good news from LSU, the football team kicked their quarterback off the team for failing to comply with team rules.

When the media and the public treat investigation, arrest and incarceration like a badge of honor and do NOT shun people who fail to take responsibility for their actions and glorify the criminal activity, children and teenagers learn negative lessons and society will suffer. Parents should use these opportunities to teach children right from wrong, good from bad. But, it’s just easier to sit kids in front of the t.v., computer or video game and ignore them. So, soon their children will inexplicably (to the parents) obtain the new celebrity accessory. And the parents won’t understand how THEIR child could have been arrested.

Update: 05/08/08

Please add to accessory bearers–Gary Dourdan, CSI (the original) star and now saddled with drug possession charges. Also, Joe Hamilton, former Ga Tech QB and now former Ga Tech football staff member, was arrested for DUI and drug possession and left his job with Ga Tech yesterday.

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Filed under Atlanta, Celebrity, Crime and Punishment, Media, News, NFL, Politics

What kind of parents…

What kind of parents permit their 15 year-old daughter to pose semi-nude for the cover of an internationally distributed magazine? And why is it that Miley Cyrus, the 15 year-old is the only person in the family saying anything about being embarrassed?

My mother pointed out months ago what she saw as a parental conflict in the Cyrus household. The elder Cyrus appears to be exploiting his daughter’s talents to his own benefit. Reviving his short-lived and then annoying career in the ultimate stage father role-appearing with and performing with his talented daughter.

The more important question is WHY WOULD HE PERMIT THIS? As far as etiquette and child rearing is concerned why let your daughter pose half dressed for ANY one, all respect to Ms. Leibovitz? Even if those concerns don’t matter, is Disney-Miley’s primary source of income-permitting and endorsing this behavior?

These parents need to grow up. Miley is a teenager. Let her be one. Don’t exploit her when she’s not old enough to tell you no. Although she is old enough to say she’s embarrassed. Someone taught her to have shame. That’s a good thing. Maybe that person can shepherd her career because her father obviously has his best interests at heart. Not Miley’s best interest.

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Role Model?

Clifford Harris, Jr., also known as T.I., enjoys celebrity. Not only does Harris enjoy the fame of being a Rap artist, he can now add legal controversy to his notoriety. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Harris’s plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta (Northern District of Georgia) created consternation amongst some in the legal community and the Federal Penitentiary. See http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2008/04/12/tisentence_0413.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

Initially as a former prosecutor, I cast a jaundiced eye on the plea. Upon looking further, however, Harris’s deal offers significant obstacles to overcome. The conditions of the plea include: house arrest for Harris (per my recollection of the initial media reports), 1,000 hours community service speaking to at risk children and young adults during the next year, and 500 hours more community service in the same line after his one year and one day confinement sentence.

Like many who encounter the criminal justice system, Harris’s decision to enter a plea of guilty exhibits a “change of life” decision. Change of life decisions, commonly observed in the justice system, often times do not bear fruit. Individuals, forced into solitude and outside of their normal conditions, sincerely and insincerely find God. For even the seasoned observer, the distinction is difficult to ascertain in the brief amount of court time allotted to individual cases. No, time will always tell. Upon release from confinement, a change of life decision will either become real or it falls apart at the seams.

Exhibit A: Michael Vick. Following his plea to Federal Charges, released on bond awaiting sentencing, Vick called a press conference to say: I found God and I’m sorry I got caught by law enforcement (really that’s what I heard, not what he said). Subsequent to his change of life speech and but prior to his plea, Vick tested positive for drug use, at least once. (Perhaps, he thought that the NFL would manage his random drug screens…) Michael Vick failed many people, but he failed the most important person, himself. Vick talked the talk. Vick failed to walk the walk.

U.S. Attorney David Nahmais went out on a limb in this case, but Harris sits right next to him. Harris is the one who will fall if Harris fails. Nahmais’s plea agreement contains both carrot and stick. Fail to abide by the terms of the plea for the period of probation, not just the next two years, and Harris will be explaining to a Federal Judge why the judge should permit Harris to remain free. Freedom is the carrot, like it or not. If Harris walks the walk, and talks the talk, then his message of reform will reach those who need to hear it. If he fails to follow the terms of his plea, the legal system will be watching as well as the media, I hope.

If the media cover his speeches for positive change with the same vigor and fanfare that the media covered his arrest, the message against violence will spread further than the individual speeches themselves. Alas, the rape and pillage media is another topic for another day…

Challenge to the media: Follow Clifford Harris’s speaking engagements with the same tenacity you follow the presidential candidates. Insure that he living up to his plea agreement. Who knows: y’all might change the life of a troubled teen!

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