Friday, 23 May 2014

Little Brother Is Watching You

In all the companies I have worked for, the CEO's Personal Assistant was a position of great trust and responsibility. The PA was expected to keep company secrets absolutely, and ensure that minor indiscretions were not broadcast to the world.

Certainly they were not supposed to read their employers emails, and then form 'moral' (over content that’s not criminal, just bad taste), judgements on whether to sell, or pass them to the press. Breach of such trust was not only a sackable offence, but potentially a criminal offence, that could also leave the PA facing legal damage over copyright and ownership. If I was Mr Scudamore, and the Premier League, I would be at the lawyers right now, to see if I could launch actions against both the PA, Rani Abraham's, and The Sunday Mirror. After all, essentially if the emails are on Premier League addresses, then both the newspaper and the PA knew who the owners were and that they were not being sent for publication.

Apparently the whistle blowing PA, didn't release these emails until several months after she had received or come into possession of them. In fact only after she found work elsewhere ….. this despite her apparently feeing “humiliated, belittled and disgusted” and that she had a “duty to speak out” or “somehow be condoning his behaviour.”

We Could All Be Taking Precautions Against Work Colleagues ....

In the witch hunting culture of the ism's, in which we now live, a man’s private life and thoughts are apparently open to being spied on, weighed against the moral standards of whomever is doing the spying, and then like Richard Scudamore and Brendan Eich, be 'outed' to a media outlet that’s sympathetic to those 'moral' standards, and will use its moral outrage to bring that man down .... even if no law has been broken, no illegal activity undertaken or plotted .... just for example having a dubious taste in jokes about women, or supporting a different political opinion.

Little Brother Is Watching You

The climate of fear that this brings about, is very like the denunciations and show trials under Stalin, and the Great Leap Forward under Mao, or even the witch hunts in the USA called 'McCarthyism', and is what these self righteous campaigners want, and it paralyses the West at a time when it faces great danger from external groups who want to bring the whole liberal democratic system crashing down.

Ironically of course, the culture of the ism's, would also be brought down as well .... which may be the only way we can stop its dead hand stifling everything.


  1. If this was a case of simply having personal views and taking part in harmless misonynistic banter which has absolutely no bearing on his profession (which coincidentally has a reputation for misogyny, homophobia and racism) I'd agree with you, however Mr Scudamore felt confident enough to include this wholly inappropriate material in his business emails which illustrates the blurred lines that separate his personal from his professional.

    I'm constantly amazed by the lack of self-awareness that high-profile figures seem to have. I am conscious of these issues when using my company email and I wouldn't expect to have any defence if I were to express inappropriate views, however personal, in them - unless perhaps if Mr Scudamore were my boss, which is the point.

    The question of discretion is one for the PA's present and future employers who will no doubt ask themselves how much misogyny they want to hide in their place of work. Her actions are the opposite of "I was just following orders", we need more people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in.

    1. Got to disagree with you on this .... someone who breaches an employment position of trust (which is implicit in the role of 'Personal Assistant'), when no law breaking is occurring, is not someone you can trust. Whether you disapprove of someone's backward description of womankind, its not your position as a personal assistant to hoard the emails for 6 months, until you then find another job, then 'leak' them to the national press because you suddenly belatedly felt “humiliated, belittled and disgusted” over remarks not aimed at her. In fact she was apparently well paid and treated with respect.

      Brendan Eich was subject to a sustained, organised and vitriolic attack over a personal donation to a valid political cause, which was a private position of conscience, again not illegal, and therefore of no interest to anyone except the individual concerned.

      We used to have accepted standards for positions of trust, but as the Edward Snowden affair has shown, a man who was employed in a position of extreme trust working for his countries National Security Agency, who has revealed thousands of secrets on U.S. National Security Agency activities has shown, now its up to any individual to make a personal call on a nations defence, and leak what they want to as it offends their own moral code.

      We as a society should be able to distinguish between the public and private, and that in some places, our personal opinions and morals should not be a factor in fulfilling a role we have taken. If as an individual we don't approve of spying, or intelligence gathering, then we shouldn't seek employment in that sector. Similarly, a P.A. who can't be discreet, but feels the right to make a moral call on their employers legal opinions or activities, is in the wrong job.

      So I guess this is one of the occasions when the admirable Vroomfondel and myself have to disagree. I guess we see the question from a different perspective.

    2. Of course I do lean to your opinion, I'm all for discretion and loyalty to one's employer, but not at any price. You draw the line at what is legal and I agree, but discrimination is illegal in the workplace and as I said, if it was his personal email account there'd be no argument to have.

    3. But there was in case no discrimination in the workplace .... nor in fact any evidence that the employer was anything less than proactive in its employment practises, both on the race and sex front. Being an idiot in his email address usage doesn't a criminal act make. Still, the media love these witch hunts (except when its one of their own as a later post will demonstrate), in which case hypocrisy kicks in.

    4. The facts are on your side as usual but I have to get my anti-football boot in somewhere.

    5. Its all about debate old chap, and as usual I really appreciate your willingness to engage in it.

      As for football, well it over for 15 weeks, except for the World cup, but as I am confident that England will be out after just 3 weeks, you will safely be able to ignore it. I can also confirm that as my team are in disarray, I will not be likely to post on them, or football generally for some considerable time, so you can rest easy.


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