We discussed the freedom of speech that results from efforts to end professors who criticize the Black Live Matter movement or aspects of the protests after George Floyd's murder. However, there is another such controversy with the reverse fact pattern. Claira Janover was fired from Deloitte as an "Incoming Government and Public Business Service Analyst" after posting a video that suggested stabbing people who said "all life is important." Yesterday we discussed a dean at the University of Massachusetts who said she was fired because she used such a line in an email. Ironically, Janover shows the same intolerance to anyone who has a different view, but the case still raises some of the same freedom of speech issues that we discussed earlier, including punishing people for their social media posts.
Janover started the job just after graduating from Harvard University, but was fired after her TikTok video attacking anyone who told her that "all life is important." She attacked everyone with "the nerve, the bare Caucasus, to say," all life is important "… I will stab you. I will stab you and while you are fighting and bleeding, I will show you my paper cut and say:" My cut is important too. "
She posted the video and later returned to social media to find out about her termination.
Janover insisted that the clip was "clearly" an "analog joke" and noted a message saying, "For legal reasons, this is a joke."
I haven't seen the news, but I honestly considered the video a bad joke. We have seen other jokes like this go wrong. While such jokes are often treated remarkably differently by universities and employers, depending on who the crux of the joke is. I would prefer a more tolerant approach that does not depend on the content of such a post.
For years we have been discussing freedom of speech concerns as private and public employers punish workers for their statements or actions in their private lives. We have addressed a number of such incidents, including social media controversy involving scientists. In some cases, racially charged comments were treated as free speech, while in other cases they led to discipline or dismissal. It is the lack of a uniform standard that has raised concerns about freedom of speech. We have already discussed the question of when it is appropriate to punish people for behavior outside the workplace. We have followed cases where people were fired after gross or abusive behavior once their names and employers were released. (here and here and here and here and here and here).
Janover was ridiculed for fear of being "murdered" and added, "Apparently I am threatening people's lives – unlike police officers, of course."
Janover seemed to take care of everything from defense to attack and met her company on social media: "I'm sorry, Deloitte, that you can't see it. That you were cowardly enough to fight someone who was indelible Change and will have an impact in the world. "That would certainly preclude reconciliation with the employer. She also hit Trump supporters: "I'm too strong for you. I'm too strong for each of you," All Lives Matter ", racist Trump supporters. It's annoying. But it's not as bad as systemic racism. And I will not stop using my platform to work for it. "
However, the question remains the same. Is it important if you (like me) believe that this was meant as a stupid joke? It should. It made no connection to the company. This was again done by critics who wanted her to be fired.
I have previously expressed concern that the greatest threat to freedom of speech values could come from Little Brother rather than Big Brother. This takes the form of private censorship of social media, but also punishment by companies for statements in social media. The result is a kind of fish-glass society for freedom of expression, since everyone feels they are being monitored for controversial images or statements. The result is terrifying for those like Janover who want to comment on political issues like Black Lives Matter. You can certainly criticize her for her rhetoric and even her views, but there is no reason why her personal views should be seen as material for her work at Deloitte.
The controversy also shows the hypocrisy of many in these controversies, including Janover. Those who have promoted intolerance to opposing views are the first to demand tolerance for their own views. Those who criticize the “demolition culture” are the first to try to cancel others. I fear that the loser in all of this will be the freedom of speech and the feeling of freedom to engage others in social media or public forums.