Amy Powell was the former head of Paramount Television, she was behind some successful series like 13 Reasons Why and The Alienist and there was no reason to believe that she wouldn’t have a long career in television.
One day she goes into a regular conference call to discuss some character related aspects of the series and the next thing you know, she ends up fired. Or as we say in this overly politically correct era: She was “invited to let herself go”.
Apparently she had a disagreement with one of the series producers and it seems that the person in question was offended, and so she went to HR and accused Powell of racism.
Powell on the other hand, maintains that she never said anything racist insisting that she has proof and she will be vindicated.
At this stage, it’s fairly easy to assume that the confidence of Powell’s side comes from the fact that the conversation wasn’t a private face-to-face chat but rather a recorded conference call that could easily be revisited with clarity without entering into the murky “He said, she said” territory.
But here’s where things start to get interesting.
No Trial, No Jury, Straight to Execution
Human Resources apparently refused to review the conversation to verify if there was indeed any racist comments, or lack thereof.
Instead they apparently tried to oblige Powell to admit the racism claims made against her and apologize for them regardless of the fact if she either innocent or guilty.
Meanwhile, the angry mob was already rallying to gang up on the accused, some of them even admitted that they weren’t even present in the conversation but took their rage to twitter regardless.
Whatever Happened to Dialogue
This was a “She said - she said” situation, true. But this is a recorded conference call, you don’t have to believe any party, you just have to click Play.
But somehow we found ourselves in an era where Due Process doesn’t mean anything anymore, little by little we’re adopting the Salem mentality where all you need to do accuse someone to see them burned at the stake.
Amy Powell was accused of racism and for providing an “unsafe” workplace for her co-workers and she was fired as a consequence.
When you think of it, “Providing an unsafe work environment” sounds like she was dropping flashbang grenades in the office while hauling a rocket-launcher on her shoulder.
But in reality, it’s nothing but an overly exaggerated phrasing aimed to conceal an overblown reaction that caused some serious consequences.
Obviously Powell is taking them to court, and she’s suing them for everything they got. Which was really expected at this stage given the fact they tried to destroy her life over some syllables that someone found offensive.
And now they will be forced to listen to the conversation and see themselves if they unjustly attacked, bullied, shamed and fired an innocent person, and realize the consequences that come from such hasty crusade.
Hopefully this will serve as a lesson for us all to take a deep breath before joining an angry mob instead of trying to listen to both parties.
Whether she’s guilty or innocent, the tapes will clear everything but the important thing is that Due Process cannot be overlooked. That is what separates us from ancient civilizations where the villagers used to gang up on some poor family just because someone has thrown an accusation their way.
No judge, no jury, just sharp stakes and pitchforks.
Let us not regress to the dark ages and call it progress, and more importantly, let us be slow to anger because sometimes, we do take things way out of proportion.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”