Let’s Not Dig Up Dirt on People in Order to Ruin Careers
It is a serious mistake to start digging up decade old statements made by individuals, for the sole reason of ruining a career. This specific action is beginning to occur at a higher rate— and it is not a path we should go down. It sets a bad precedent for making one accountable for everything they and even their relatives have ever said.
Earlier this year, director of the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” James Gunn was fired after a series of old tweets emerged where he made inappropriate jokes about rape and pedophilia. A part of Gunn’s statement reads “...I have regretted [the Tweets] for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time...".
A new question has obviously emerged— when do and when do we not hold individuals accountable for statements that they have made in the past? The tweets Gunn was under fire for were indeed bad— but were made over a decade ago. It is obvious that no one remains unchanged after a year has passed, let alone 10 or more years.
Would it be more morally acceptable to fire an individual for inappropriate statements made if the time elapsed has only been 1 or 2 years? There are of course no clear answers to these questions— but it is not wise to go down a path and judge someone based on standards that have not been clearly defined.
A similar story has also recently occurred. A couple of days ago, Lilly Diabetes pulled their sponsorship of NASCAR driver Conor Daly’s No. 6 car in the X-finity race due to a racial slur made by Daly’s father in the 1980’s.
This is completely ridiculous, as Daly was not even born at the time his father made the statement! A man is being held accountable for what his father said before he was even born. How about we make moral decisions and judgements on what individuals say themselves and not what their relatives say.
This specific situation does not have ambiguous moral lines like the incident with Gunn — it is blatantly wrong to hold Daly accountable for something that happened through no fault of his own.
Before we start ruining people’s careers with this horrible precedent, we should, as a society, layout specific rules on when it is appropriate to take action on statements made, and when it is not.
If we fail to clearly define standards and continue down this path, a lot of lives will continue to be negatively affected, and the impact that just morals have on decisions will drastically decrease.
Keyden Smith-Herold is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Analytical, (dailyanalytical.com) a brand new publication.