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February 23 2014

December 26 2013

Where Do You Sit on the Workplace Ethics Scale?

What would you do if you saw a co-worker stealing supplies from the office, or discovered that another employee was using company time to run a side business? People encounter ethical dilemmas like these in their workplaces all the time, and while it's usually clear when an employee is doing something wrong, it's not always clear how to handle the situation.

"We all have an innate ethic sense that lets us know the right thing to do, but we don't always follow it," said Mark Pastin, an ethics consultant and author of Make an Ethical Difference: Tools for Better Action. "Employees may go along with something they think is unethical because they fear the consequences of raising the issue." Read more...

More about Employment, Business, Ethics, Workplace, and Small Business
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June 30 2011

Ashton Kutcher & Village Voice Engage in Twitter War Over Child Prostitution

Ashton Kutcher is engaged in a Twitter war with The Village Voice, after the alternative weekly published an article criticizing Kutcher and his DNA Foundation.

Specifically, The Voice takes issue with the figures related to child prostitution in the United States. In April, the Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) launched a series of high-profile online videos designed to raise awareness of child sex slavery in the U.S.

The videos, which feature celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn and Jaime Foxx, take on the issue by juxtaposing humorous “Real Man” stereotypes with the underlying message that “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls.”

The Village Voice addresses the campaign and the statistics that it finds inaccurate in an article titled, “Real Men Get Their Facts Straight.”

A Question of Accurate Statistics

In media appearances promoting the DNA Foundation and its “Real Men” campaign, Kutcher invoked the frequently cited statistic that between 100,000 and 300,000 children are used for prostitution every year.

Kutcher isn’t the only person touting this figure. As The Voice points out, other publications including CNN, The New York Times and USA Today have all repeated this figure.

The problem, according to The Voice, is that the figure is inaccurate. It came from a report published by two University of Pennsylvania professors.

Not only does the figure itself not refer to actual child prostitutes — instead the 100,000 to 300,000 figure is related to children who are “at risk” for sexual exploitation — The Voice contends that the number of child prostitutes is actually a much smaller fraction.

Why Attack Ashton?

Even if we concede that the 100,000 to 300,000 child prostitute figure is an overestimate, why does The Voice‘s story focus on Kutcher — as opposed to all the other organizations that have also overused this likely inaccurate number?

While it is important to have a real discussion about accurate statistics, especially when these numbers are being promoted by celebrities and media organizations, Kutcher still strikes us a strange target. The article’s criticism seems to be less about the debate between whether celebrities help or hurt philanthropic causes and more about some of Kutcher’s social allies.

The article eventually makes its way to Linda Smith, a former congresswoman and founder of an organization called Shared Hope International. She works to raise awareness of sex trafficking and child prostitution, and she promotes Kutcher and Moore’s causes. In turn, DNA also promotes some of Shared Hope International’s goals.

Smith is controversial in some of her aims, which are part of a broader goal targeting pornography and the sex industry in general, not just child trafficking.

She testified before Congress about Craigslist in September 2010. Smith was one of many critics calling for Craigslist to shut down its adult services section, citing it as a major facilitator for prostitution, including child prostitution. These hearings and other public criticism ultimately led Craigslist to permanently shut down its adult services section in December 2010.

This is significant because The Village Voice, as it discloses in a sidebar to its article, derives a portion of its income by selling adult classified ads.

The Village Voice now sells its online ads via Backpage.com. Backpage, like Craigslist before it, is often a target of those opposed to the sex industry. It is also criticized as acting as a conduit to selling child prostitutes.

On Twitter, Kutcher responded to the Voice’s allegations by pointing out its own conflict because of its association with Backpage.

What’s the Real Story?

Ultimately, we agree that the 100,000 to 300,000 figure cited by Kutcher and other activists is probably inaccurate, at least for the U.S. But the article and context surrounding it raise interesting questions on multiple levels: Why Kutcher? Does the publication’s Backpage — the very enemy of Linda Smith — create a bias in its coverage of her?

Both sides of the fight and observers have continued to ask these questions on Twitter, where more of the story is playing out.

We’ve reached out to The Village Voice for comment.

The Timeline

View “Ashton vs. Village Voice” on Storify

More About: ashton kutcher, DNA, ethics, sex trafficking, village voice

For more Social Media coverage:

May 27 2011

Mark Zuckerberg Only Eats What He Kills

The new diet of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not for the faint of heart: He only eats what he kills.

“This year I’ve basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself,” Zuckerberg wrote in an email to Fortune.

The diet is one of Zuckerberg’s many “personal challenges,” he claims, that help him expand his interests and teach himself discipline. Last year, he tried to learn Chinese, and now he’s trying to be more responsible about the food he eats.

“A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn’t want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from,” Zuckerberg says.

Zuckerberg’s view on nutrition ethics are similar to some types of Buddhist vegetarianism and Locavorism. And as he himself admitted, it’s “basically” a vegetarian diet.

However, the fact that Zuckerberg did kill some animals himself — according to Fortune, this includes a lobster, chicken, pig and a goat — to eat them will surely stir some controversy. Zuckerberg even posted a message on his private Facebook page on May 4 saying, “I just killed a pig and a goat.”

What do you think about Zuckerberg’s view on meat-eating? Could you ever embark on such a diet? What’s more acceptable: having others kill the animals for your food, or doing it yourself? Please, share your opinions in the comments.

[via Fortune]

More About: diet, ethics, facebook, mark zuckerberg, nutrition

For more Social Media coverage:

December 10 2009

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