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What Do You Mean, “No Refund”?!?
Early in the chapter we alluded to an ethical aspect of contracts by imagining you were a ticketholder to a Michael Jackson concert at the time of his death. The Final Tour is announced, tickets go on sale, the shows immediately sell out, and then Michael Jackson dies quite suddenly two weeks before the tour is to begin. Aside from any legal contractual issues, discuss the ethical considerations for what to do about refunding the tickets. That is, even if the agreement that ticketholders (generally unknowingly) entered into said their money would not be refunded in such an event, discuss the ethics of the situation. Who are the stakeholders? Think of as many as you possibly can. What are the issues involved? What does the tour promoter stand to lose with each scenario? What does it stand to gain? Where do law and ethics interface here in such an unprecedented occurrence (not just the death of a performer, but one of Michael Jackson’s unparalleled stature)? Does sentiment enter into the picture under the circumstances? In what way? Should it? How would you determine the best ethical position to take about refunding the money?
“Privacy and the Public Figure”
On Donald Trump’s personal blog, “Carolyn,” about Carolyn Kepcher, Donald Trump’s former apprentice on his Apprentice show, Trump wrote that Ms. Kepcher was terminated because “she loved her fame and she loved her celebrity on The Apprentice and it was affecting her work. She wasn’t doing her job like she used to or was capable of doing.” Mr. Trump told Ms. Kepcher, “in the nicest way possible…get a new job.” He did not say “you’re fired.” He replaced Ms. Kepcher with his daughter, Ivanka Trump. Was it ethical of Trump to broadcast this type of information to the general public? Compare the information found in each week’s People magazine, or Us Weekly. Is there a difference? Does it matter that the sources in those publications are journalists and here it is the original decision maker publicizing the basis of the decision? Does it matter that Ms. Kepcher voluntarily sought a position in the public eye? If so, what personal information would then be acceptable for Mr. Trump to share about Ms. Kepcher and what information would you consider too personal to be shared? Where should we, as a society, draw our legal and ethical lines? For instance, what about the extensive media coverage of speculation about Michael Jackson’s reputed drug use immediately after his death? Any ethical issues there? Is it the same as the Trump situation? If not, why?