Tag Archives: censorship

Free Speech’s Jewish Problem

Facebook’s Holocaust-Denial Hate-Speech Problem, Lloyd Grove, The Daily Beast, 18 Aug 2011 (my emphasis):

Is Facebook in denial about Holocaust denial?

For years, international organizations opposing anti-Semitism have been urging the planet’s preeminent social-networking platform to delete any content that asserts the Nazi-orchestrated extermination of 6 million Jews never took place.

And for years, officials of Facebook, boasting more than 750 million active users, have refused, insisting that mere denial of the Holocaust, however “repugnant and ignorant,” doesn’t constitute “hate speech” as defined by Facebook’s Terms of Service policy prohibiting “content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” (Which gave a huge opening to TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who noted that while Facebook was meticulously removing photos of breast-feeding women, it was allowing the proliferation of Holocaust-denial pages. His mordant headline: “Jew Haters Welcome At Facebook, As Long As They Aren’t Lactating.”)

Facebook’s critics—including such groups as the Anti-Defamation League and the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, which describes itself as an Israeli-led “alliance of statesmen, parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists, legal experts, NGOs and scholars”—argue that Holocaust denial is, by definition, an expression of hatred for the Jewish people.

“Holocaust denial is basically a form of classic anti-Semitism,” said Deborah Lauter, ADL’s director of civil rights and its cyber-hate response team. “It’s anti-Semitism per se because it serves as a powerful conspiracy theory that basically says the Jews have manipulated history to advance their own worldview, whether to create sympathy or world domination. In other words, we have fabricated this monstrous event in history in order to further our own hidden agenda.”

Facebook spokesman Simon Axten doesn’t see it that way.

“We find Holocaust denial to be repugnant and ignorant, just as we object to many of the other ideas expressed on Facebook,” Axten told me via email this week. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our policies. We recognize people’s right to be factually wrong about historical events.”

The controversy surrounding Facebook’s free-speech position isn’t especially new. It has been a matter of anxiety among Jewish groups at least since November 2008, when blogger and attorney Brian Cuban—the less-famous brother of Dallas Mavericks owner and Dancing With the Stars contestant Mark Cuban—sounded the alarm and prompted a spate of media attention.

But the issue bubbled up anew last month when a group of survivors of the Nazi death camps wrote to Facebook asking that the company’s broad-minded policy be reversed. It came up again on Tuesday, when Australian computer scientist Andre Oboler and Canadian lawyer David Matas, co-chairmen of the Global Forum’s Online Anti-Semitism Working Group, released a letter they sent to Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg after they attended what Oboler calls a “frustrating” video conference with an executive of Facebook’s European operations. The Facebook exec politely listened to the group’s concerns, Oboler told me from Melbourne, then reiterated the company line.

“We call on Facebook to abandon its insistence on treating Holocaust denial in a context-free manner, in which it is considered nothing more than the rejection of a historical event,” Oboler and Matas wrote to Zuckerberg. “The context makes it clear that there is no meaningful distinction between Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews … We ask that Facebook recognize Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech, issue a statement to this effect, and do its utmost to remove Holocaust denial from the Facebook platform.”

In his email, Facebook’s Axten stated that “in practice, we end up removing the vast majority of Holocaust denial content that’s reported to us because it’s explicitly hateful or threatening. Most instances of Holocaust denial on Facebook (or anywhere else) are accompanied by threats or clearly anti-Jewish statements, which run afoul of our policies. We remove these as quickly as possible when they’re reported to us, and the result is that there is actually very little of this kind of content on Facebook.”

ADL’s Lauter gives Facebook, and especially Axten, credit for “seriously engaging” on the issue, and supports his claim that the company has been responsive to reports of hate speech. She notes that she has led several workshops in Palo Alto, Calif., with key Facebook employees to alert them to the nuances of Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and related concerns. But she disputes Axten’s assertion that there is “very little of this kind of content on Facebook.”

“We’re talking probably hundreds of thousands [of Facebook-hosted pages and postings] as a general problem,” she told me. “The metrics are hard to do. We would love it if, as part of their internal operations, Facebook would help with a system for coming up with those metrics, so we could see benchmarks—is it getting worse or better? How do you quantify the incidence of anti-Semitism? The whole flood of the Internet shows that, and you can’t even document the number of people expressing their hate thoughts.”

Oboler pointed out that Holocaust denial is codified as hate speech and thus against the law in 13 European countries, including Germany and Austria, and that Facebook manages not to violate local ordinances by blocking the various denial pages in the relevant jurisdictions. He said his colleagues, “who have been approaching Facebook with an open mind and in a spirit of cooperation to solve this problem, are becoming increasingly frustrated with Facebook’s irrational stubbornness on this issue and their attempts to blur the issue.”

The irony, of course, is that Zuckerberg and many of his employees are Jewish, and Oboler speculated that “maybe, as a result, they are bending too far in the other direction to let everybody know that they support free speech.”

Facebook’s Axten acknowledged in his email: “Many of us at Facebook have direct personal connection to the Holocaust, through parents or grandparents who were forced to flee Europe or relatives who could not escape. We believe in Facebook’s mission that giving people tools to make the world more open is the best way to combat ignorance and deception, though we recognize that others may disagree.”

The irony here is not in the good-jew/bad-jew theatrics. Despite their phony concerns about free speech the article makes clear that the “vast majority” of the content any self-righteous jew regards as repugnant, ignorant, or hateful is removed as quickly as possible. The hyperventilating and special pleading here is about removing what remains. Their jew-centric debate is about just how special the special protection for jewish sensibilities should be.

If there’s any irony here it’s in so many hyper-sensitive, hyper-critical jews portraying themselves as a group as the victims while they argue amongst themselves about just how far to push the victimization of those who vex them.

(Examples of the consequences of jewish hostility and the kind of criticism they don’t want to hear can be found in UK Thought Criminals Sheppard and Whittle Jailed in LA.)

Judaized Discourse – A Holocaust Over Blood Libel

In the wake of the Loughner/Giffords shooting, amidst all the vitriolic rhetoric guilt-tripping Whites for participating in politics, a number of jews were speaking out about what they perceived the deeper meaning to be. From the beginning jews injected their own specifically jewish concerns into the political discourse and busily set about transforming the narrative from “congresswoman shot”, to “jewish congresswoman shot”, to “jewish congresswoman shot because she’s a jew”.

By the time Sarah Palin’s response came, days later, both the jewish and hypocritical nature of the most vitriolic rhetoric was increasingly obvious. Palin’s speech, America’s Enduring Strength, like most contemporary politcal speeches, consisted largely of non-partisan platitudes wrapped in pleasant sentiments, evoking images of an America which for the most part no longer exists. What set it apart was that in the middle Palin called out the scapegoaters in jewish terms:

If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

And again, near the end, Palin made another pointed reference to the scapegoaters, their methods, and their purpose:

We need strength to not let the random acts of a criminal turn us against ourselves, or weaken our solid foundation, or provide a pretext to stifle debate.

America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week. We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.

As mild as this carefully worded reproach was, it hit very close to home. Hypocrisy is an accusation of serious substance to Whites, especially the kind who support Palin, but it isn’t at all effective on the “journalists and pundits”. The jews who responded weren’t upset about being called hypocrites. What they were upset about was an uppity, ignorant non-jew using their proprietary, jews-only victim card. Several jews were so incensed that they wrote two responses, or wrote something and also appeared on television.

General Reports: Jewish Blood Boiling

Jewish Group Slams Palin for ‘Blood Libel’ Remark, The Daily Beast, 12 Jan 2011.

Palin slammed for using ‘blood libel’ term, Jewish Journal, 12 Jan 2011. “Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” to decry blaming conservatives for the Arizona shooting has raised the ire of the Jewish community.”

U.S. Jewish leaders slam Sarah Palin’s blood libel accusation, Haaretz, 12 Jan 2011.

Blood libel: Jewish leaders object to Palin’s ‘blood libel’ charge, latimes.com, 12 Jan 2011. “Sarah Palin’s charge of ‘blood libel’ spurs outcry from Jewish leaders”.

Palin’s blood libel charge ignites firestorm, 12 Jan 2011.

Sarah Palin’s Blood Libel Controversial Reference Has Riled Emotions, 12 Jan 2011:

An aide close to Sarah Palin says death threats and security threats have increased to an unprecedented level since the shooting in Arizona, and the former Alaska governor’s team has been talking to security professionals.

Authoritative Statements from Professional Jewish Bigots

J Street Responds to Palin’s “Blood Libel” Statement, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, 12 Jan 2011:

We hope that Governor Palin will recognize, when it is brought to her attention, that the term “blood libel” brings back painful echoes of a very dark time in our communal history when Jews were falsely accused of committing heinous deeds. When Governor Palin learns that many Jews are pained by and take offense at the use of the term, we are sure that she will choose to retract her comment, apologize and make a less inflammatory choice of words.

David A. Harris: Palin’s Incendiary “Blood Libel” Reference: Wrong Time, Wrong Place, Wrong Always:

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 12, 2011 – The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today condemned Sarah Palin’s charged “blood libel” accusation, released early Wednesday by video. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said upon hearing Palin’s statement:

Following this weekend’s tragedy, we — and many others — simply did two things: we prayed for our friend Gabby while keeping all of the murdered and wounded in our thoughts and prayers, and we talked in broad terms about our increasingly charged level of political debate — asserting that now is as good a time as any to look inward and assess how all of us need to dial back the level of vitriol and anger in our public square. Nobody can disagree with the need for both.

Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a “blood libel” against her and others. This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.

Perhaps Sarah Palin honestly does not know what a blood libel is, or does not know of their horrific history; that is perhaps the most charitable explanation we can arrive at in explaining her rhetoric today.

All we had asked following this weekend’s tragedy was for prayers for the dead and wounded, and for all of us to take a step back and look inward to see how we can improve the tenor of our coarsening public debate. Sarah Palin’s invocation of a “blood libel” charge against her perceived enemies is hardly a step in the right direction.

The NJDC statement on the day of the shooting also expressed the desire to see their enemies “banished from our political discourse”.

Palin: Stop Fanning Flames, Jewish Funds for Justice, 12 Jan 2011:

JFSJ to Sarah Palin: Stop Fanning the Flames of Division

NEW YORK – Simon Greer, president of Jewish Funds for Justice, released the following statement in response to Sarah Palin “blood libel” comment:

We are deeply disturbed by Fox News commentator Sarah Palin’s decision to characterize as a “blood libel” the criticism directed at her following the terrorist attack in Tucson. The term “blood libel” is not a synonym for “false accusation.” It refers to a specific falsehood perpetuated by Christians about Jews for centuries, a falsehood that motivated a good deal of anti-Jewish violence and discrimination. Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out-of-line.

In the past two months, Ms. Palin and Glenn Beck, the most well-known media personalities on Fox News, have abused two of the most tragic episode in the history of the Jewish people: the Holocaust and the blood libel. In addition, Roger Ailes, the head of the Fox News channel, referred to the executives at NPR as “Nazis.” Perhaps the popular news channel has such an ingrained victim mentality that it identifies with one of the most persecuted minorities in human history. But the Jewish community does not appreciate their identification, which only serves to denigrate the very real pain so many Jews have suffered because of anti-Semitic violence. It is clear that Fox News has a Jewish problem.

Sarah Palin did not shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Only the perpetrator can be found guilty for this act of terrorism. But it is worth pointing out that it was Rep. Giffords herself who first objected to Ms. Palin’s map showing her district in the crosshairs. “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, it has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.” According to Ms. Palin’s logic, Rep. Giffords statement was a blood libel against the Fox News host. The fact that Rep. Giffords is Jewish and Ms. Palin is Christian makes the accusation even more grotesque.

Ms. Palin clearly took some time to reflect before putting out her statement today. Despite that time, her primary conclusion was that she is the victim and Rep. Giffords is the perpetrator. As a powerful rhetorical advocate for personal responsibility, Ms. Palin has failed to live up to her own standards with this statement.

Simon Greer also appeared on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann, accompanied by a Sarah Palin avatar labeled “INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC”. Countdown: Palin angers Jewish community with speech, 12 Jan 2011:

Olbermann: Sarah Palin, knowingly or not, is comparing herself to the persecuted jews of the middle ages as a jewish congresswoman lies in critical condition in an Arizona hospital after being shot in the head.

Greer: Sarah Palin is trying to confuse us and make us think there is a victim in Alaska, which clearly there isn’t, and to do it adding insult to injury, she invokes a phrase that has cost countless lives of jews across the centuries and she uses it to launch a complaint about the media. On the face of it it’s a grotesque comparison.

Olbermann: Usually when somebody invokes it it’s related to actual persecution of another group. Is part of the problem here that the person who claims the blood libel is being used is also the person who claims it’s being used against them?

Greer: Yeah, you have a situation where a jewish congresswoman is fighting for her life and a Christian is claiming that she’s the one that’s the victim of a blood libel. It does make me think the leaders like Sarah Palin and other Tea Party leaders like Glenn Beck have a jewish problem. They continue to invoke holocaust, Hitler, nazi, blood libel – as if they’re trying to paint a picture of themselves as victims in an almost Orwellian turn of phrase. It’s a bit hard to fathom.

Greer: If she does offer an explanation I for one would love to hear what were the circle of jewish advisors around her, what were they thinking. Were they thinking, “we know what the blood libel is and we’re going to use it to great effect” or, “oops we didn’t really know what it meant, we deliberated for four days about what to say and then we slipped in the blood libel”. I would love to hear her explanation.

Marvin Hier to Sarah Palin: You’re “Over the Top”, Jewish Journal, 13 Jan 2011:

That provoked Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to call an out-of-bounds.

“It is simply inappropriate to compare current American politics with term that was used by Christians to persecute Jews,” said Hier. “She has every right to criticize journalists without going over the top.”

But as Palin may someday learn, and Hier and other Jewish leaders know wel, words really do matter. Equating even harsh criticism with “blood libel” is like going to the ER for a boo boo. It grossly demeans the historic reality of the blood libel and the victims who suffered brutally and needlessly because of it.

Other recent SWC trips to the ER: SWC Denounces ‘New Blood Libel’ at UC Campuses, 22 May 2007; Swedish Government’s Response “Inadequate” to New “Blood-Libel”, 19 Aug 2009.

Sarah Palin Charge of ‘Blood Libel’ Provokes Rhetorical Controversy, Andrea Stone, 12 Jan 2011:

To critics, Palin was reckless in her choice of words because “blood libel” is fraught with historic connotations.

“The term has a very specific meaning” connected to the charge that Jews used the blood of Christian boys in preparing matzah for the Passover Seder, said Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies. “Governor Palin could have found a better term, especially given the fact that Representative Giffords is Jewish.”

Palin’s use of the term is “glaringly inappropriate and displays a profound lack of historical sensitivity,” said Jenna Weissman Joselit, a professor of history and Judaic studies at George Washington University.

“I would have advised against using it — the term is historically unique and refers specifically to false charges of ritual murder,” said Noam Neusner, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and the son of a famed Talmudic scholar. “While Ms. Palin has a legitimate gripe against her liberal critics, who were wrong to associate the Tucson shooter with her politics, she is using a term that simply does not apply. She could have simply used the word ‘libel’ and she would have been fine.”

Palin has been a strong supporter of Israel, and even her staunchest critics don’t suggest that anti-Semitism is behind the faux pas.

But Robert Lehrman, a former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, said Palin’s choice of words was likely not accidental.

“Only Jews know about” the visceral meaning of the term, he said. “And because the right and some tea party people — like Tony Katz — talk about the Jewish-dominated media, the unspoken implication is this: ‘Most people won’t get this, but you Jewish reporters know what I’m saying.'”

Brad Hirschfield: Palin’s Charge of Blood Libel Plays the Jewish Card, Brad Hirschfield, self-described “Rabbi, Author and Expert on Religion and Public Life”, 12 Jan 2011:

First, let’s be clear about what a blood libel is. In the briefest terms, it is the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews, typically that of children, for ritual purposes, especially the making of Passover matzah.

The charge, which originated among medieval Catholics, has also been used by Protestants and more recently by Muslims too, to provoke rage at Jews — rage which on many occasions resulted in violence against Jews, and even their murders. That’s what makes Palin’s use of the term so interesting — for the analogy to work, she must be the Jew!

I have no particular problem with people, including gentiles, analogizing their own woes to that of Jews, but does Ms. Palin actually believe that her life is in danger because of the journalists and political talking heads who accuse her of complicity in the tragedy in Tucson?

If she does, then not only does she seem eager to play the Jew, she seems to agree with her detractors about the power of words to inspire violence. It’s amazing how the two sides, each so eager to cast blame upon the other, are so very much alike. Because her analogy, however unintentionally, drives home that point, I think it may be quite apt.

Ms. Palin’s choice of analogies is also a good one because it points to a situation in which people need to cast blame upon others to deflect from their own sins. In the case of the blood libel, it was used not only to create anti-Jewish sentiment, but to justify it.

Jews, it was charged, deserved to be tortured and killed because of their evil deeds. So Jew haters created a reason for the hate, one which not only inspired increased hate but justified, in their own minds, the hate they already had for Jews.

When Journalists and Pundits Attack

Sarah Palin Says Media Guilty of ‘Blood Libel’: Why Her Speech Was Wrong, Howard Kurtz, 12 Jan 2011:

Blood libel, for those who are not familiar, describes a false accusation that minorities—usually Jews—murder children to use their blood in religious rituals, and has been a historical theme in the persecution of the Jewish people.

Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.

As someone who has argued that linking her rhetoric to the hateful violence of Jared Loughlin is unfair, I can imagine that the former governor was angry about how liberal detractors dragged her into this story. But after days of silence, she had a chance to speak to the country in a calmer, more inclusive way. She could have said that all of us, including her, needed to avoid excessively harsh or military-style language, without retreating one inch from her strongly held beliefs.

Instead she went the blood libel route.

The same day Howard Kurtz Tweeted:

There was some sympathy for Palin over being tied to shooting, + she chose to go inflammatory. Blood libel has special resonance for Jews.

Hardball – Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd, Howard Fineman, 12 Jan 2011:

Matthews: Why would she use a phrase like that?

Todd: I don’t know. I think, ahh, I, uhh, it’s uhh, it, to me, she needs to answer that, I don’t understand…

Fineman: She has only one gear and that is forward and she only one mode and that is attack. I don’t think she fully understood the history because if she did understand the history she would realize that she was comparing herself, in this situation, to a jewish martyr during the middle ages, or the cossacks in russia or whatever, and all of her critics as people who engaged in that kind of behavior. That’s not just over the top, that’s the other side of the moon.

With ‘Blood Libel,’ The 2012 Campaign Has Begun, Howard Fineman, 12 Jan 2011:

After a litany of other Republicans, from Roger Ailes to Ari Fleischer, suggested that calmer rhetoric is warranted in the aftermath of Tucson, Palin — after remaining essentially silent for three days — amped up the rhetoric in a pointed counterattack, accusing “journalists and pundits” of manufacturing a “blood libel” against her by suggesting that she somehow is to blame for the toxic political atmosphere in Arizona.

There are few more freighted phrases in the history of hate than “blood libel,” which is the ancient and false accusation that Jews secretly murder Christian children as part of their religious rituals. This anti-Semitic attack has resulted in countless pogroms and massacres through the ages.

Saint Sarah, it seems, is now comparing herself to one of those martyrs.

Notably absent was any second-guessing of a single word or action of her own over the last two years. To do so, apparently, would mean to somehow accept the premise that the “lamestream media” is worthy of attention. As far as she is concerned, they don’t exist — except for the sake of being likened to pillaging Cossacks. (The comparison is not only over-the-top, it’s also insensitive, given that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish.)

Blood Libel, Adam Serwer, 12 Jan 2011:

Over at Greg’s place, I explain why Sarah Palin’s use of blood libel in the context of people accusing her of being responsible for the incident in Tucson is wrong, even if the accusations are unfair

This links The foolishness of the ‘blood libel’ charge:

Blood libel is a term that usually refers to an ancient falsehood that Jews use the blood of Christian children in religious rituals. For hundreds of years, particularly during the Middle Ages, it was used to justify the slaughter of Jews in the street and their expulsion from entire countries. “Blood libel” is not wrongfully assigning guilt to an individual for murder, but rather assigning guilt collectively to an entire group of people and then using it to justify violence against them.

This is a new low for Palin, but outsize comparisons of partisan political conflict to instances of terrible historical oppression is a fairly frequent rhetorical device among conservative media figures.

Now, mere days after the incident, with six people dead and Giffords still recovering, Palin is making herself the center of attention. It might please the audience for conservative talk radio or Fox News, but most people will be disgusted. As well they should be.

Sarah Palin charges critics with ‘blood libel’, Jennifer Epstein, 12 Jan 2011:

Palin’s use of the charged phrase “blood libel” — which refers to the anti-Semitic accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzo for Passover — touched off an immediate backlash.

“The blood libel is something anti-Semites have historically used in Europe as an excuse to murder Jews — the comparison is stupid. Jews and rational people will find it objectionable,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic political consultant and devout Jew. “This will forever link her to the events in Tucson. It deepens the hole she’s already dug for herself. … It’s absolutely inappropriate.”

But in her first extended response to the shooting – and just hours before President Barack Obama planned to speak at a memorial service in Tucson – Palin created a frenzy.

It was chiefly because of her use of “blood libel,” but also because she used the video largely to make an unapologetic case for her brand of confrontational politics.

RealClearPolitics – Video – NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: Palin “Ignorant” For Using Term “Blood Libel”, 12 Jan 2011.

Yglesias » Blood Libel, Matt Yglesias, 12 Jan 2011:

Indeed, Jews throughout America can join me in remembering when our ancestors fled Eastern Europe in order to live in a land where nobody would ever criticize us on television.

Analysis: Palin Plays the Victim Card, Dan Farber, 12 Jan 2011:

Palin appears to be appropriating the term to indicate that she is a victim, as a result of some groups and individuals claiming that her political rhetoric contributed to the actions of the deranged, lone gunman.

But the real victims are Rep. Giffords and the others who were wounded or killed, not Palin, who appears to be tone deaf to Giffords statement that there are consequences to actions. The consequences of Palin’s crosshairs may not be directly related to the shooting rampage in Tucson and assassination attempt, but they are related to the level of divisiveness in the country.

“Community leaders, not just political leaders, need to stand back when things get too fired up,” Giffords said during her MSNBC appearance in March 2010.

The likely presidential aspirant doesn’t seem to take any responsibility for ratcheting up the political dialog or believe that there is any need to moderate the tone of political discourse in America.

What ‘blood libel’ really means, Jonathan Zimmerman, 13 Jan 2011:

Palin should apologize, too. And not just to Jews, including Giffords.

No, Palin should apologize to all of us. In a speech condemning the irresponsibility of her critics, who have played fast and loose with the facts, Palin did something even worse: She trivialized one of the great crimes of human history.

The Libel of “Blood Libel”, Noah Baron, 13 Jan 2011:

I cannot believe that Palin was ignorant of the history of the term “blood libel,” which was long used as an excuse by anti-Semites to persecute Jews. More likely, she chose it on purpose.

Palin’s statement is but one in a long line of manifestations of a paranoia and persecution complex that now characterizes the American conservative movement.

Why Sarah Palin’s Use of ‘Blood Libel’ Is a Great Thing, Jeffrey Goldberg, 12 Jan 2011:

Sarah Palin has called the post-Tucson campaign of vilification against her and her fellow travelers a “blood libel.” On the one hand, this is unfortunate, as Jonah Goldberg points out, because it threatens to redefine the phrase, plus, what is happening to her is not precisely the byproduct of a blood libel.

On the other hand, Sarah Palin is such an important political and cultural figure that her use of the term “blood libel” should introduce this very important historical phenomenon to a wide audience, and the ensuing discussion — about how Fox News is not actually Mendel Beilis — will serve to enlighten and inform. It is a moral necessity, I think, for Christians to understand the blood libel (Muslims, too — see the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840), not only because it is part of their history, but because the blood libel still has modern ramifications — Israel, after all, was founded as a reaction to Christian hatred, of which the blood libel was an obvious and murderous manifestation.

I mean it sincerely when I say I hope Sarah Palin, who regularly expresses love for Jews and Israel, takes the time to learn about the history of the blood libel, and shares what she has learned with her many admirers.

Sarah Palin, Jewish Educator – The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, 12 Jan 2011:

My theory that Sarah Palin’s otherwise gross use of the term “blood libel” to describe criticism leveled against her has an upside — the potential to educate people about the actual meaning and history of the “blood libel” and its frightening relevance today — is being borne out in the in-box. Two such e-mails:

i had no idea ‘blood libel’ had a jewish origin, i doubt sarah palin does either, she picked up on it because it sounded sexy, and voila, more headlines.

I think it’s true that Sarah Palin had no idea of the meaning; I don’t actually believe she was Jew-baiting, or consciously trying to denigrate the experience of Jewish communities at the hands of their Christian neighbors.

And this:

What do you think the actual chances are that Sarah Palin will actually come out and apologize and learn something about the blood libel and try to raise consciousness about this? I don’t think it’s very high.

Keep hope alive, I say. This is a great moment for Sarah Palin to demonstrate some sensitivity, and to show that she’s capable of absorbing and assimilating new knowledge, and sharing that knowledge with others. I hope she doesn’t miss the chance.


Intermittent respites from the unhinged jewish firestorm.

Ben Smith on Twitter, 12 Jan 2011:

A quick ‘blood libel’ thought. Palin’s aides, including @thegoldfarb [Michael Goldfarb], get the context — so this is a pot being stirred, not an accident…

Palin: ‘Blood libel’, Ben Smith, 12 Jan 2011:

The phrase “blood libel” was introduced into the debate this week by Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, and raised some eyebrows because it typically refers historically to the alleged murder of Christian babies by Jews, and has been used more recently by Israeli’s supporters to refer to accusations against the country. It’s a powerful metaphor, and one that carries the sense of an oppressed minority.

The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel, Glenn Reynolds, 10 Jan 2011.

The Term ‘Blood Libel’: More Common Than You Might Think, Jim Geraghty, 12 Jan 2011.

Team Sarah Points to Even More Recent Uses of ‘Blood Libel’, Jim Geraghty, 13 Jan 2011.

With Friends Like These

“Blood Libel” – By Jonah Goldberg – The Corner – National Review Online, 12 Jan 2011:

I should have said this a few days ago, when my friend Glenn Reynolds introduced the term to this debate. But I think that the use of this particular term in this context isn’t ideal.

Jewish Republicans muted on Palin’s ‘blood libel’ comment, Jordan Fabian, 12 Jan 2011:

Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors, did not address Palin’s use of the phrase “blood libel” but said she would have been better served by focusing on a more positive message.

Exclusive: Alan Dershowitz Defends Sarah Palin’s Use of Term ‘Blood Libel’, 12 Jan 2011:

The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

Charles Krauthammer on debating Palin’s use of ‘blood libel’: ‘Have we completely lost our minds?’, 13 Jan 2011:

“[T]he fact is that even the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League in expressing a mild rebuke to Palin for using this admitted itself in its statement that the term ‘blood libel’ has become part of English parlance to refer to someone falsely accused,” Krauthammer said. “Let’s step back for a second. Here we have a brilliant, intelligent, articulate, beautiful, wife, mother and congresswoman fighting for her life, in a hospital in Tucson, and we’re having a national debate over whether the term ‘blood libel’ can be used appropriately in a non-Jewish context? Have we completely lost our minds?”

Jewish Pols Appalled, Condemn Palin, Others Feign Ignorance

Palin Calls Criticism ‘Blood Libel’, Michael D. Shear, 12 Jan 2011:

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, who is a close friend of Ms. Giffords, issued a statement condemning her use of the phrase “blood libel.”

“Palin’s comments either show a complete ignorance of history, or blatant anti-Semitism,” said Jonathan Beeton, Ms. Wasserman Shultz’s spokesman. “Either way, it shows an appalling lack of sensitivity given Representative Giffords’s faith and the events of the past week.”

Palin starts storm over media ‘blood libel’ – TheHill.com, Michael O’Brien and Jordan Fabian, 12 Jan 2011:

“When I heard it, I said, ‘What? This is ridiculous!’ ” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who is Jewish, told The Hill. “It’s appalling. It’s an insensitive choice of words.”

Lawmakers on Wednesday indicated they were baffled by Palin’s “blood libel” characterization.

“Blood what?” Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.) responded when asked for his response to the characterization.

Pallone’s confusion was shared by Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

Gohmert said that he had not read or heard Palin’s self-defense, stating, “There are some words that you know incite people, just inflame their passions, and those are things that are helpful to stay away from.”

Other House Republicans simply shook their heads and opted not to comment on Palin’s message.

McGovern didn’t know what “blood libel” meant, saying he thought initially “it must be some sort of Alaska thing.”

Jewish Influence and Coded Language

Sarah Palin: Critics Blaming Political Right for Shootings Commit ‘Blood Libel’, Tom Diemer, 12 Jan 2011:

Palin, like many conservative Christians, is a strong supporter of Israel, and she has been particularly supportive of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line stands versus the Palestinians. In an open letter to incoming Republican freshmen last November she implicitly rebuked President Obama when she wrote that “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement,” and in June she slammed Obama over what she said was his weak-kneed support of Israel following the Israeli commando attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine activists dead.

But Christian conservatives like Palin are also growing increasingly fond of Jewish religious traditions and motifs, sometimes celebrating Passover Seders and appropriating Old Testament references like the Israelites in exile to describe their own experience in modern America. Palin, for example, likes to compare herself to Queen Esther, the Jewish beauty from the Book of Esther who saves her people from destruction.

Such religious borrowing can be problematic for Jews, and Palin’s “blood libel” reference evoking such a devastating history at the hands of Christians could be especially explosive. The Anti-Defamation League said it was “inappropriate to blame Palin and others for causing this tragedy.” Still, the ADL said, “we wish Palin had not invoked the phrase ‘blood libel'” — words that have become part of English parlance, but ones “so fraught with pain in Jewish history.”

Palin Knew What She Was Saying, Matthew Cooper, 12 Jan 2011:

But, as is often the case, Palin is likely being underestimated and, perhaps, misunderstood. It’s highly unlikely that she threw an incendiary term out there without knowing what it means, and it’s even less likely she did so in an effort to promote anti-Semitism.

Here’ s another theory of the case: The former Alaska governor was likely trying to send a signal to her evangelical Christian supporters who are, in fact, deeply pro-Israel (although many Jews are wary of their support for the Zionist state, seeing them as more interested in the Rapture than a healthy Jewish nation).

Palin was likely aligning herself with pro-Israel evangelicals by identifying with Jews, not by insulting them, although that was surely the effect given the widespread bristling at her remarks.

After all, it’s not the first time Palin has aligned herself subtly with Jews. She has noted that after her election as governor in 2006, her childhood pastor suggested that she take the Bible’s Queen Esther as a role model. Esther was a beauty queen who became a fierce protector of the Jewish people. Palin is comfortable in the role of Esther, and many of her evangelical supporters see her in that guise, describing her as Esther-like. The multi-faith website Beliefnet called this phenomenon “Esther-mania.”

By adopting the blood libel language, Palin was most likely trying to pull another Esther — aligning herself with Jews, not denouncing them. It appears to have been a badly miscalculated effort, but it’s unlikely that it was her intention to offend.

“It was a dog whistle,” said one Jewish Republican who worked in the George H.W. Bush administration and declined to be named to avoid becoming enmeshed in the intraparty debate over Palin. The reference was to a device that’s silent to some ears but calls to others. “The media didn’t get it, but Christian activists did,” this source added.

Was Sarah Palin’s ‘Blood Libel’ Comment a ‘Dog Whistle’ — or Just Inadvertent?, Matt Lewis, 12 Jan 2011:

As Tom Diemer and David Gibson noted, the term ” ‘Blood libel’ is an extraordinarily loaded phrase because it recalls the false accusation by Christians against Jews that was used for centuries as an excuse for anti-Semitic persecution. The libel generally refers to the charge that Jews required human blood, and in particular the blood of Christian children, to bake matzoh bread.

While many believe this to be an example of “dog whistle” politics, I’m not so sure. A cipher works when the only people who hear the “dog whistle” are your complicit allies. That is clearly not the case in this instance. And so if others can immediately decode it, is it a dog whistle?

My guess is that this is simply a case of ignorance on the part of Palin and the speechwriter — and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Simply put, a lot of people don’t realize that these loaded terms have deeper and more sinister meanings.

Postscript, Business as Usual

Democrat invokes Nazis to slam GOP on health care – On Politics: Covering the US Congress, Governors, and the 2012 Election, 19 Jan 2011. US Representative Steve Cohen, speaking on the record in the House of Representatives:

They say it’s a government takeover of health care. A big lie just like (Joseph) Goebbels. You say it enough and you repeat the lie, repeat the lie, repeat the lie and eventually people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the jews, and the people believed it, and you had the holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again.

Over the Top and Beyond the Moon

Regardless of who chose the term blood libel or whether the intent was to provoke an overreaction from jews, that’s exactly what it produced. What happened is that an army of influential jewish journalists, pundits, and professional bigots instantly swarmed forth to self-righteously lecture the unwashed hoi polloi about jewish sensitivities and sensibilities, instructing Palin and the rest of us what we may or may not say.

That two words could produce such an enormous, immediate, angry jewish reaction is an indication of just how sensitive and defensive jews are about even an indirect reference to their influence. It also serves as a measure of that influence.

Jews focused on attacking Palin specifically because they didn’t want to address her point. As Fineman projected, jews have only one mode: attack. What agitated them so was being called out in jewish terms. They certainly were not put out about being called hyprocrites. Hypocrisy is something only Whites get upset about.

After seeing blood libel defined over and over and over again it’s impossible to believe that the term causes jews any pain whatsoever. What most obviously gets them exercised is seeing anyone but jews as victims. And my how cruel, merciless and paranoid they can be when they think someone is trying to use their own tricks against them.

Burlington Takeaway: Words Whites Can’t Say

Media reports on the Tom Burlington case have glossed over interesting points. As it turns out, the recent court ruling those reports were based on contains an informative summary of the events and the current legal thinking on race-based social and workplace standards. The picture it paints is one that will shock and surprise anyone who believes the premise or goal of “civil rights”, “affirmative action”, or “anti-discrimination” is racial equality under law or anywhere else.

To make this ruling more readable I’ve excerpted the court’s PDF below, preserving the bulk of it while omitting many of the parenthesized, superfluous citations to Burlington’s original complaint, and the subsequent motions and depositions, as well as the bulk of the references to specific case law.

I am White. I am not a lawyer.


On May 4, 2009, Plaintiff Thomas Burlington filed suit against Defendants News Corporation, Fox Television Stations, Inc., and Fox Television Stations of Philadelphia, Inc. alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a et seq., 28 U.S.C. § 1981, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 951 et seq. Plaintiff is a white male. He alleges that he was discriminated against because of his race, was subjected to a hostile work environment, and that Defendants retaliated against him. Defendant News Corporation was dismissed from this litigation by stipulation of the parties. The remaining defendants are Fox Television Stations, Inc., and Fox Television Stations of Philadelphia, Inc. (collectively “the Station,” “Fox,” or “Defendants”).

Plaintiff was hired by Defendants as a reporter in December 2004. Plaintiff received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Colorado in 1984 and an M.A. from Wake Forest University in 1994. He had 17 years of experience as a reporter or anchor when he was hired by Defendants. Plaintiff has won several awards for his reporting, including the Edward R. Murrow Award. His written evaluations while an employee at the Station rate him as a “Solid Performer.” Plaintiff was promoted to weekend anchor/reporter on February 20, 2006. Joyce Evans, an African American female, was Plaintiff’s weekend co-anchor.

The Station regularly held newsroom editorial meetings in which its journalists discussed the stories that would air on that evening’s news broadcast. Plaintiff claims that he suffered reverse discrimination as a result of a comment that he made at a newsroom editorial meeting on June 23, 2007. Plaintiff attended the June 23rd newsroom editorial meeting along with eight of his coworkers. The individuals who attended the meeting and their races are as follows:

• Plaintiff—White
• Christopher Denton—White
• Cynthia Cappello—White
• Charles Edmondson—White
• John Jervay—African American
• Rebecca Rogers—White
• Tor Smith—African America
• Robin Taylor—White
• Nicole Wolfe—African American

During the June 23rd meeting, the group discussed a story about the Philadelphia Youth Council of the NAACP holding a symbolic burial for the word “nigger.” Robin Taylor had been assigned to the story. Taylor had attended the symbolic burial and testified that the participants at the burial used the word “at least a hundred times or more” during the course of the proceedings. Taylor discussed the story with her colleagues at the editorial meeting and consistently referred to the racial slur as “the n-word” instead of using the full word. During the meeting Plaintiff asked, “Does this mean we can finally say the word ‘nigger?’” Taylor said that she would not say the word in her story. Plaintiff told Taylor that although he did not necessarily expect her to use the word in her story, he thought that doing so gave the story more credence. At his deposition Plaintiff testified that he “wanted to make the point that I felt if we’re going to refer to the word ‘nigger,’ we should either say the word ‘nigger’ or refer to it as a racial epithet or a slur instead of using the phrase the ‘N’ word.” Plaintiff used the word once during the newsroom meeting. Nicole Wolfe exclaimed in response to Plaintiff’s use of the word, “I can’t believe you just said that!” Neither Plaintiff nor Taylor recalls anyone else saying anything on this subject during the meeting.

After the discussion about whether to use the word, the meeting proceeded as normal, though Plaintiff noticed that his comments had elicited a negative reaction from Nicole Wolfe. Wolfe later told Taylor that she was offended by Plaintiff’s use of the racial slur during the meeting. Nobody at the meeting believed that Plaintiff used the word in its pejorative sense as a racial slur. Taylor later told the head of human resources, Ameena Ali, that she thought more was being made of the situation than should be, and that Plaintiff had not acted maliciously in making his statements during the meeting.

After the meeting, Plaintiff approached Wolfe and said that he had sensed that she was upset and “wanted to explain.” Wolfe said that she did not want to discuss the meeting. Soon thereafter, Plaintiff was confronted by his co-anchor, Joyce Evans, who was not present at the meeting but had been approached by several meeting attendees who had been offended by Plaintiff’s remarks. Evans is African American. Evans informed Plaintiff that he had upset his coworkers, and Plaintiff decided to talk to each of the attendees individually. Plaintiff spoke to John Jervay and explained his rationale for using the word during the meeting. Jervay perceived this to be “some form of an apology.” During the conversation with Jervay, Plaintiff again used the word once or twice. Plaintiff had similar conversations with Christopher Denton, Cynthia Cappello, Charles Edmondson, and Tor Smith. As with Jervay, Plaintiff used the word in several (though not all) of these conversations. After he explained himself and apologized to his coworkers, Plaintiff again spoke to Evans. Plaintiff testified that during this conversation, “Joyce said, [b]ecause you’re white you can never understand what it’s like to be called a nigger and that you cannot use the word ‘nigger.’” Evans denies telling Plaintiff that he could not say the word because he was white, and she also denies ever saying the word during her conversation with Plaintiff. Plaintiff testified that Evans used the word twice in their conversation. Plaintiff told Evans that he was surprised at her position, because he did not believe that a journalist was not allowed to say certain words in an editorial context. [Footnote 1: Ameena Ali, the head of Defendants’HR department, testified in her deposition that Evans’s statement that white people could not say the word would be a violation of Defendants’EEO policies.]

The conversation ended with Evans and Plaintiff in full disagreement. Thereafter, Plaintiff overheard Evans telling another employee that “people get fired for using that word.” Plaintiff testified that at that point, he realized that “she was not letting this go.” On Sunday, June 24, Evans called the Assistant News Director, Leslie Tyler, at home to tell her about Plaintiff’s actions at the previous day’s newsroom editorial meeting. Tyler is African American. Evans told Tyler that employees were upset over what Plaintiff had said during the meeting. Evans felt that Tyler should know what had happened in the meeting and how people reacted to it. Tyler called several employees that day to find out what had happened in the meeting. Tyler testified that she believes that she called Nicole Wolfe, John Jervay, Tor Smith, Becky Rogers and Robin Taylor. Plaintiff contends based on Taylor’s and Rogers’s deposition testimony that Tyler only called the African American employees who were present at the meeting. [Footnote 2: Becky Rogers stated in her deposition that she first spoke to Tyler about the incident in Tyler’s office later in the week—not on the phone on Sunday, June 24, as Tyler testified. Similarly, Robin Taylor testified that she did not talk to anyone about the incident until “days later. Probably a week later.” This contradicts Tyler’s testimony that she called Taylor on Sunday, June 24. We must not resolve factual issues, but we must view the facts and the inferences in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986).] Defendants dispute this, pointing out that Tyler and/or Ali eventually spoke to Christopher Denton, who is white, and several other white employees who attended the meeting. In any event, the record shows that on Sunday, June 24, 2007, Tyler called all the African American employees who had been present at the meeting but had not called the majority of the white attendees, including Plaintiff himself.

On Monday, June 25, Tyler spoke to the News Director at the Station, Philip Metlin, about the June 23 meeting and its aftermath. Metlin is a white male. Tyler had intended to inform Ameena Ali about the situation, but Metlin told Tyler not to contact Ali or to do anything else at that juncture. Over the following few days, Tyler received emails from several of the people whom she had called the previous Sunday. Tor Smith sent an email to Tyler and Metlin on Wednesday, June 27. Joyce Evans had recommended that Smith speak to Tyler about his discomfort with Plaintiff’s comments. Tyler in turn recommended that Smith detail his complaint about Plaintiff in an email to Tyler and Metlin. Smith’s email details his version of Plaintiff’s remarks during and after the June 23 meeting. Nicole Wolfe also wrote an email to Metlin and Tyler, as did Becky Rogers. In addition, John Jervay sent an email describing Plaintiff’s actions to Metlin and Tyler. Jervay’s email explicitly uses the word “nigger” three times, twice in all capital letters.

Becky Rogers wrote her email to Metlin and Tyler after a conversation with Joyce Evans in which Evans asked Rogers how she felt about Plaintiff’s behavior at the meeting. Rogers said that she was “horrified.” Evans said that it was important that Rogers let management know how she felt because “[t]he only people who have complained so far have been black people.” Rogers said that she would think about it.

At this point, Metlin brought the issue to Mike Renda, the General Manager of the station. Renda is a white male. Renda ordered Ameena Ali to conduct an investigation into Plaintiff’s actions. As part of that investigation, Ali asked Plaintiff to participate in a meeting with her, Metlin, and Renda on June 29, 2007. During the meeting, Metlin asked Plaintiff to give his version of the events at the editorial meeting the previous Saturday. Plaintiff recited what he had said in the editorial meeting, using the word in the process. Ali responded, “Tom, you’re still saying the word, why are you doing that?” (“Ms. Ali cut me off and said, ‘I can’t believe you said it again. . . . Don’t you know you can’t use that word?’”). Plaintiff replied that he was simply relating what had happened at the editorial meeting, as Metlin had requested. Ali testified that she found Plaintiff’s use of the word during the meeting offensive. Metlin, who is Jewish, explained to Plaintiff that his use of the word was akin to calling someone a “kike.” Metlin told Plaintiff that he would be suspended pending an investigation, and the meeting ended abruptly. The entire meeting lasted about five minutes. Plaintiff did not have an opportunity to give his version of the events that occurred after the editorial meeting, including his apologies to coworkers.

Plaintiff was never asked to explain his side of the story during the subsequent investigation. Plaintiff emailed Metlin on June 30 requesting an “opportunity to allow you to assess my sincerity by speaking with you face-to-face so you can hear what is in my head and in my heart.” Plaintiff never received a response from Metlin. As part of the investigation, Ali spoke to Cyndi Cappello, Nicole Wolfe, and Robin Taylor. [Footnote 3: Ali’s testimony that she spoke with Robin Taylor as part of her investigation is in conflict with Taylor’s testimony that Ali did not speak to her.] Ali did not speak to Plaintiff during the course of the investigation. Nor did Ali inquire as to whether the employees who had attended the June 23rd editorial meeting had reacted to Plaintiff’s comments the way they did because of Plaintiff’s race.

The investigation concluded on July 3, 2007. Plaintiff was issued a memorandum entitled “Final Warning and Employee Assistance Program Referral.” The memorandum briefly described the events that had led to Plaintiff’s suspension and informed Plaintiff that “[y]our behavior was unacceptable and will not be tolerated. You will not be warned again. Further failure to meet the job performance standards of your position will result in the immediate termination of your employment.” It referred Plaintiff to sensitivity training and stated that Plaintiff’s failure to contact the Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) to schedule the sensitivity training, or to follow its recommendations, would be interpreted as a refusal to cooperate. According to Plaintiff, Mike Renda told Plaintiff at about this time that they were “going to ride this one out,” and that Plaintiff would be reinstated if he complied with the EAP’s requirements. Phil Metlin testified that at this point Defendants had most likely not yet decided to terminate Plaintiff, as they would not have given a final warning to an employee whom they had decided to terminate.

On July 5, 2007, the Philadelphia Daily News published an article about Plaintiff’s suspension in which it stated that “FOX 29 anchor/reporter Tom Burlington has been suspended by the station following what sources describe as a ‘bizarre’ and ‘shocking’ sermon in which he insisted there’s nothing wrong with a word most commonly referred to as ‘the N-word.’” Dan Gross, Fox’s Tom Burlington suspended, Phila. Daily News, July 5, 2007. The article stated that Plaintiff had “used the word more than a dozen times as he argued that doing so was not such a big deal.” Plaintiff called the article “false and defamatory” and suggested that the source of the Daily News’s information was a coworker who wanted to end Plaintiff’s career. The Philadelphia Tribune picked up the story the following day, running a front-page article with Plaintiff’s picture. Larry Miller, Fox news anchor suspended—reports say journalist used the ‘n-word’, Phila. Trib., July 6, 2007, at 1A. The story was subsequently picked up by several other print and online media outlets.

The Daily News article attributes its information about the June 23 editorial meeting to Plaintiff’s colleagues at the Station. Phil Metlin acknowledged that leaking information about the editorial meeting would be a violation of the Station’s policies. Mike Renda testified that if he learned of a Station employee leaking this story to the press, the employee most likely would have been terminated. The Station did not conduct an investigation to determine whether one of its employees had leaked the story to the media.

The Station’s management began to receive requests from employees that they not be assigned to work with Plaintiff. Photographer Paxton Reese emailed Chief Photographer John Campbell with a request that he not be assigned to work with Plaintiff. Paxton Reese is African American. Mike Renda testified that other photographers requested that they not be assigned to work with Plaintiff because they were concerned for their safety if they appeared on the street with Plaintiff.

In the meantime, Plaintiff complied with the EAP’s requirements. On July 6, 2007, the EAP informed Ali that Plaintiff was fit to return to work. (See Pl.’s Resp. Ex. MM (stating that Plaintiff was “in compliance” and was fit to return to work, and that “[h]e feels very badly and is remorseful about what happened”).) Ali forwarded the email to Mike Renda. On July 9th, Renda replied to Ali’s email, stating, “[w]e need to talk about return scenario—news would like him to return Wed.”

Joyce Evans called Ameena Ali on July 10th to inform her that she was receiving phone calls from the National Association of Black Journalists (“NABJ”) and the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (“PABJ”) regarding Plaintiff’s behavior at the editorial meeting. Evans also told Ali that she was hearing a lot of comments from “people talking to [her] on the street” about Plaintiff’s use of the word during and after the editorial meeting. Evans testified that she received a lot of phone calls asking if she was okay, as well as a voicemail from the NABJ and a voicemail from the PABJ. Evans did not actually talk to anyone at the NABJ or the PABJ, and she could not provide the name of anyone who had spoken to her regarding Plaintiff’s behavior. Ali testified that she believed Evans had called her to ask for advice on how to respond to these inquiries. Evans also told Ali that she was concerned about her on-air chemistry with Plaintiff in light of Plaintiff’s actions. Ali testified that she did not believe that Evans was trying to prevent Plaintiff from returning to work. Upon viewing Ali’s notes from the phone call with Evans, which read, “Getting lots of calls / NABJ / PABJ / People on street / Was concerned about the chemistry if Tom comes back,” Phil Metlin agreed that there was a racial issue regarding Plaintiff’s comments. (“Q: As you read [Ali’s notes], is this document indicating to you that there’s a racial issue concerning Mr. Burlington’s comments? A: Yes.”)

On July 12, 2007, Mike Renda, Ameena Ali, and Phil Metlin met with Plaintiff and informed him that he would not be put back on the air, and that his contract would not be renewed when it expired. Renda testified that the Station could have fired Plaintiff for cause, stating that the adverse publicity resulting from Plaintiff’s behavior violated the clause in Plaintiff’s contract that prevented him from engaging in “any activity that may result in adverse publicity or notoriety for performer or company.” Nevertheless, Renda offered Plaintiff the opportunity to resign, believing it to be the right thing to do. Plaintiff told Renda, Metlin, and Ali that it would ruin his career if they terminated him, but Metlin assured Plaintiff that he would “come through this without any problems.” Renda explained that their concern for Plaintiff’s safety was the basis for his decision. Plaintiff was unable to elicit any further explanation. No one stated that Plaintiff’s race was the reason for his termination, and Plaintiff did not suggest as much during the meeting. Plaintiff never returned to work at the Station, though the Station paid Plaintiff through the end of his contract, which expired on February 19, 2008. Since his contract with Fox expired, Plaintiff has been unable to obtain a job as a journalist. He is currently working as a real-estate agent.


A party is entitled to summary judgment when “the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the [party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 316 F.3d 431, 443 (3d Cir. 2003). Where the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may identify an absence of a genuine issue of material fact by showing the court that there is no evidence in the record supporting the nonmoving party’s case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 325 (1986); UPMC Health Sys. v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 391 F.3d 497, 502 (3d Cir. 2004). If the moving party carries this initial burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2) (stating that “an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must . . . set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial”); see also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (noting that the nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”). The nonmoving party may not avoid summary judgment by relying on speculation or by rehashing the allegations in the pleadings. Ridgewood Bd. of Educ. v. N.E. for M.E., 172 F.3d 238, 252 (3d Cir. 1999). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a reasonable trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.’” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting First Nat’l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)). “We must construe the evidence in favor of the non-moving party, and summary judgment must be denied if there exists enough evidence ‘to enable a jury to reasonably find for the nonmovant on the issue.’” Brown v. J. Kaz, Inc., 581 F.3d 175, 179 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Giles v. Kearney, 571 F.3d 318, 322 (3d Cir. 2009)).

In plain English, this says that viewing the evidence in Burlington’s favor, as he must, the judge feels obliged to allow a jury to decide the case. Do not mistake this for sympathy with Burlington.

The section labeled “III. ANALYSIS” comprises the majority of the original document. Much of it is jargon, including lengthy quotes and citations to related case law. Here I have excerpted only the portions I consider most intelligible and informative to laymen.

To establish a prima facie case of discrimination, a plaintiff generally must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that “(1) the plaintiff belongs to a protected class; (2) he/she was qualified for the position; (3) he/she was subject to an adverse employment action despite being qualified; and (4) . . . circumstances that raise an inference of discriminatory action . . . .” Warenecki v. City of Phila., No. 10-1450, 2010 WL 4344558, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 3, 2010) (citing Sarullo, 352 F.3d at 797) (ellipses in the original). However, where plaintiffs allege reverse discrimination, the analysis is changed somewhat. See Iadimarco v. Runyon, 190 F.3d 151, 158 (3d Cir. 1999) (noting that literal application of the first element of the prima facie case would preclude white plaintiffs from establishing a prima facie case). In reverse discrimination cases, “a non-minority plaintiff must show [that] (1) he or she was qualified for the position in question, (2) he or she suffered an adverse employment action, and (3) the evidence is adequate to create an inference that the adverse employment action was based on a trait protected by Title VII.” Warenecki, 2010 WL 4344558, at *5 (citing Mosca v. Cole, 384 F. Supp. 2d 757, 765 (D.N.J. 2005)).

The upshot of this is that Whites are not members of a “protected class” and thus do not qualify to sue for discrimination. A separate legal concept called “reverse discrimination” is applied to “non-minority” (i.e. White) plaintiffs. Title VII “anti-discrimination” law itself discriminates Whites from non-Whites, assigning Whites an inferior legal status, subjecting us to a different legal standard. The consequences of this are clear in the discussion that follows.

Defendants concede that Plaintiff was qualified for his position and that he suffered an adverse employment action. Defendants argue that Plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie case because he cannot identify any similarly situated persons outside his protected class who were treated more favorably, and because the circumstances surrounding Plaintiff’s termination do not support an inference of discrimination. Plaintiff counters that he is not required to show that similarly situated employees outside his protected class were treated more favorably, and that in any event, three African American employees who said or wrote the word “nigger” in the workplace were not disciplined in any way.

Note that by very consciously using the deferential neologism “African American” and placing the word at issue in quotes the court itself shows subtle signs of race-based discrimination.

Plaintiff points to three African American comparators who stated or wrote the word but were not disciplined by the Station: David Huddleston, John Jervay, and Joyce Evans. Plaintiff testified in his deposition that during a newsroom editorial meeting, his coworkers were discussing a “dumb criminal” story in which the criminal was African American. Huddleston, who is African American, commented, “Man, that’s one dumb nigger.” The meeting attendees all laughed. Plaintiff testified that Leslie Tyler, who is part of the management team, was at the meeting. Tyler does not recall Huddleston saying the word or hearing people talk about this alleged exchange. Huddleston was not disciplined by the Station for saying the word.

Defendants argue that Huddleston is not similarly situated to Plaintiff. Defendants point out that there was a different General Manager at the Station when Huddleston made his comments and argue that “where there are different decisionmakers, employees are not similarly situated.”

Burlington also pointed to Philip Metlin’s use of kike, but apparently didn’t insist that Metlin was a similarly situated comparator.

Defendants also argue that Huddleston’s comments did not incite complaints from his coworkers and negative publicity for the Station the way Plaintiff’s comments did, and Huddleston is therefore not an appropriate comparator for the purpose of establishing a prima facie case. This argument misses the point. Plaintiff contends that his coworkers’ reaction and the negative publicity that resulted were all the product of racial discrimination that ultimately influenced management. The point of a comparator analysis is that when two employees of different races who act in a similar manner are treated differently, it permits the inference that the race of the employees accounts for the difference.

The meaning of prima facie is important: “It is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts. In common law jurisdictions, prima facie denotes evidence which – unless rebutted – would be sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact.”

The primary self-evident fact about arguments concerning discrimination is that when a member of a “protected class” files suit they are presumed to be “protected”, and thus are qualified to make accusations of discrimination for which the threshold of self-evidence is relatively low. In contrast, it is self-evident that Whites are not “protected”, and thus the threshold of self-evidence for anything we claim is higher. Even if we can adequately demonstrate our claims, they will only ever constitute a qualified, and thereby diminished reverse echo of anything “protected classes” are to be protected from.

Following the June 23rd newsroom editorial meeting, John Jervay, an African American, wrote an email to Phil Metlin and Leslie Tyler explaining that “during the news meeting the word nigger was used by Tom Burlington.” Jervay’s email used the word twice more in all capital letters. Defendants argue that Jervay simply “accurately reported and described Plaintiff’s offensive use of the word,” so his use of the word was therefore not as serious as Plaintiff’s. But when Plaintiff was asked during the June 29th meeting to explain what had happened in the June 23rd newsroom editorial meeting, Plaintiff’s use of the word provoked an immediate reaction from Ameena Ali and Phil Metlin. Plaintiff testified that Ali said, “I can’t believe you said it again. . . . Don’t you know you can’t use that word?” Mirroring Defendants’explanation of Jervay’s use of the word, Plaintiff replied that he was simply relating what had happened at the editorial meeting, as Metlin had requested. Metlin suspended Plaintiff, although Plaintiff’s suspension had been ordered by Mike Renda before the meeting. Jervay, by contrast, was never disciplined for using the word under almost the same circumstances as Plaintiff during the June 29th meeting. General Manager Mike Renda’s explanation of this inconsistency was as follows:

Q. And in this email [Jervay] uses the word—the full word nigger three times?
A. Correct.
Q. And is that a violation of Fox policy for him to have done it?
A. He was quoting Tom Burlington in an investigation.
Q. So that it was acceptable for him to do that?
A. We asked him what was said.
Q. And he—my question is: Was it a violation of Fox policy for him to use the word?
A. Not in the context of this investigation.
Q. Earlier I was talking to you about when Ameena Ali questioned Tom Burlington about what he said in the meeting and Tom Burlington used the full word nigger when he recounted what happened, and you said that would be a violation of policy. [. . .]
Q. Let me ask you again. Would it be a violation of policy for Tom
Burlington to have used the full word with Ameena Ali when he was asked about the incident? [. . .]
A. It was inappropriate.
Q. My question is—
A. No.
Q. Okay.
A. Well, wait a second. Let me take that back. The fact is that any time you use the word, it is a violation.
Q. Okay. So then looking at this email, was it a violation for John Jervay to type this word, send it in an e-mail and use it three times?
A. I will repeat what I said. No. He was asked to send this as part of the investigation.
Q. Well, you just said that any time that the word is used, it’s a violation of policy. So that’s not true?
A. I stand by what I said.
Q. Well, it doesn’t make sense. Is it always a violation of policy or are there exceptions?
A. We asked John Jervay what happened, and he reported to us.
Q. My question is different. Is it always a violation of policy or are there exceptions? [. . .]
A. I don’t know.

A reasonable jury could conclude that Renda’s testimony demonstrates that Defendants were unable to draw a principled, non-race-based distinction between Jervay’s use of the word in describing what happened at the newsroom editorial meeting and Plaintiff’s use of the word when he was asked to describe what had happened at the meeting. Plaintiff’s use of the word elicited a severely negative reaction, brought the meeting to a close before he could explain himself, and was followed by his immediate suspension, while Jervay’s use of the word elicited only Defendants’ defense of his actions. Plaintiff is white. Jervay is African American. Management’s inability to explain why Jervay was allowed to use the word while Plaintiff was not permits the inference that their races influenced the decision, and that a similarly situated African American employee was treated more favorably than Plaintiff under similar circumstances. [Footnote 4: We agree with Defendants that Joyce Evans is not a similarly situated employee. Plaintiff did not report her alleged use of the word to management until Plaintiff filed his EEOC charge, which was well after his termination.]

Given the Third Circuit’s repeated admonitions that “the plaintiff’s burden at this first stage is not particularly onerous,” Doe v. C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 358, 369 (3d Cir. 2008), we find that Plaintiff has satisfied his burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination.

Given such damning evidence of differing standards a reasonable judge operating on a premise of racial equality could easily have concluded that FOX is arguing in bad faith. Instead the premise of the law is inequality. Discrimination against non-Whites prior to Title VII has been replaced with discrimination against Whites.

(ii) Defendants’ legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for Plaintiff’s termination

Defendants offer three legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for Plaintiff’s termination: First, Defendants offer Plaintiff’s misconduct in using the word “nigger” at the editorial meeting and repeatedly thereafter as a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason. Next, Defendants offer the adverse impact that Plaintiff’s misconduct had in the workplace as a reason. Finally, Defendants offer the negative publicity and public embarrassment that Plaintiff’s conduct generated as a reason. Defendants contend that their action in suspending and terminating Plaintiff or in not renewing his contract had nothing to do with race. Rather, their action was a result of Plaintiff’s outrageous use of a word that was hurtful to his coworkers, caused a disruption in the newsroom, and caused the Station to be subjected to adverse publicity resulting in the Station and Plaintiff being brought into public contempt, ridicule, and disrepute. Defendants contend that this was in direct violation of the terms and conditions of Plaintiff’s employment agreement and justified the suspension and termination. Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ reasons themselves rely on impermissible racial considerations, because Plaintiff’s coworkers’ reactions to his statements and the negative publicity that they generated are based on the assumption that it is permissible for an African American to use the word, but not a white person. Plaintiff points out that he did not use the word in its pejorative sense; rather, he used it in an academic newsroom discussion of a news story involving the word and he had no intention of belittling or hurting anyone. Moreover, the adverse publicity that followed the newsroom discussion was the result of the discriminatory animus of his coworkers who leaked the story to the newspaper in violation of company policy and without any investigation or sanction. Assuming the existence of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for Plaintiff’s termination, we must determine whether those reasons are simply a pretext for discrimination.

Based upon the totality of the evidence, we are compelled to conclude that a reasonable jury could find that an invidious discriminatory reason was more likely than not a motivating or determinative cause of Defendants’ action, or that the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons were not the real reasons for the termination. See id.

We begin by addressing an issue that does not appear to have been decided by the federal courts: can an employer be held liable under Title VII for enforcing or condoning the social norm that it is acceptable for African Americans to say “nigger” but not whites? The text of the statute is the starting point for our analysis. Lawrence v. City of Phila., 527 F.3d 299, 322 (3d Cir. 2008). Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to “discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual . . . because of such individual’s race.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). It is well settled that Title VII’s prohibition of race-based discrimination protects white employees as well as minority employees. McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transp. Co., 427 U.S. 273, 278-79 (1976) (stating that Title VII is “not limited to discrimination against members of any particular race”). As the law by its terms outlaws treating employees of one race differently from another race, the question becomes is there some justification for treating the white employee who says the word differently from the African American employee who says the word.

In Towne v. Eisner, 245 U.S. 418, 425 (1918), Justice Holmes observed that “[a] word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.” This is certainly so with this particular word. Merriam-Webster notes in the usage section of its definition of the word that “[i]ts use by and among blacks is not always intended or taken as offensive, but . . . it is otherwise a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry.” Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 837 (11th ed. 2005); see also Randall Kennedy, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word 105-08 (First Vintage Books ed. 2003). Professor Kennedy, an African American, made the observation that

many people, white and black alike, disapprove of a white person saying “nigger” under virtually any circumstance. “When we call each other ‘nigger’ it means no harm,” [rapper] Ice Cube remarks. “But if a white person uses it, it’s something different, it’s a racist word.” Professor Michael Eric Dyson likewise asserts that whites must know and stayin their racial placewhen it comes to saying “nigger.” He writes that “most white folk attracted to black culture know better than to cross a line drawn in the sand of racial history. Niggerhas neverbeen cool when spit from white lips.”

Historically, African Americans’ use of the word has been ironic, satirical, or even affectionate. Too often, however, the word has been used by whites as a tool to belittle, oppress, or dehumanize African Americans. When viewed in its historical context, one can see how people in general, and African Americans in particular, might react differently when a white person uses the word than if an African American uses it.

Nevertheless, we are unable to conclude that this is a justifiable reason for permitting the Station to draw race-based distinctions between employees. It is no answer to say that we are interpreting Title VII in accord with prevailing social norms. Title VII was enacted to counter social norms that supported widespread discrimination against African Americans. See McDonnell Douglas, 411 U.S. at 800 (stating that the purpose of Title VII was “to eliminate those discriminatory practices and devices which have fostered racially stratified job environments to the disadvantage of minority citizens”). To conclude that the Station may act in accordance with the social norm that it is permissible for African Americans to use the word but not whites would require a determination that this is a “good” race-based social norm that justifies a departure from the text of Title VII. Neither the text of Title VII, the legislative history, nor the caselaw permits such a departure from Title VII’s command that employers refrain from “discriminat[ing] against any individual . . . because of such individual’s race.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).

With the foregoing in mind, there is evidence in this case to suggest that at least two African Americans said the word in the workplace with no consequences. Dave Huddleston described the subject of a “dumb criminal” story as a “dumb nigger.” Like Plaintiff, Huddleston used the word in a newsroom editorial meeting. Unlike Plaintiff, Huddleston clearly used the word in its pejorative sense, rather than in a philosophical discussion of the word itself. Unlike Plaintiff, Huddleston’s coworkers simply laughed, and management was not notified. Similarly, John Jervay used the word in an email while describing what had transpired at the newsroom editorial meeting. When Plaintiff used the word for the same purpose in the June 29th meeting, it brought the meeting to an abrupt end, with Ameena Ali chastising Plaintiff and Phil Metlin suspending him. While Jervay obviously was not describing his own previous usage of the word as was Plaintiff during the June 29th meeting, Mike Renda’s deposition testimony attempting to explain why it was permissible for Jervay to say the word under those circumstances but not Plaintiff demonstrates that the General Manager of the Station was unable to reconcile this inconsistency.

In addition, Plaintiff has adduced facts about Joyce Evans’s role in Plaintiff’s suspension and termination that would permit a factfinder to infer that Plaintiff’s suspension and termination were motivated at least in part by his race. If Plaintiff is believed, upon learning of Plaintiff’s use of the word in the newsroom editorial meeting, Evans informed Plaintiff that he could not say the word because he was white—a statement that would have violated the Station’s EEO policies, according to the Station’s own human resources manager. Thereafter, Plaintiff overheard Evans telling another employee that “people get fired for using that word.” The next day, Evans called Leslie Tyler at home to inform her about Plaintiff’s use of the word in the previous day’s newsroom editorial meeting. Evans told Tyler that as the Assistant News Director, Tyler should know what had happened in the meeting and how people reacted to it. Later that week, Evans told Becky Rogers, who is white, that “the only people that have said anything so far have been black people. I think it’s important they know that you felt offended.” On July 1, 2007, Rogers emailed Tyler about Plaintiff’s behavior in the newsroom editorial meeting.

Plaintiff was suspended on June 29th. A reasonable jury could conclude based upon the evidence that as of July 9th, Plaintiff was going to be permitted to return to work. Mike Renda wrote an email to Ameena Ali on July 9th stating that “[w]e need to talk about return scenario—news would like him to return Wed.” [Footnote 5: Renda testified in his deposition that a decision had not yet been made on whether to bring Plaintiff back or not, and that his email meant that news (meaning Leslie Tyler and Phil Metlin) wanted to know for scheduling purposes whether Plaintiff would be back on Wednesday. Similarly, Ameena Ali testified that Renda’s email, which stated that “News would like him to return Wed,” actually meant that “they [news] were working on scheduling and they were anxious to know, you know, what was going on.” Construing the evidence in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, see Brown, 581 F.3d at 179, it is reasonable to assume that Renda’s email establishes that Defendants were contemplating bringing Plaintiff back to work by Wednesday, July 11th.] Defendants deny that any decision had been made by July 9th to allow Plaintiff to return to work, however. On July 12th, Plaintiff was terminated. The only evidence in the record about what happened between July 9th and July 12th involves Joyce Evans. On July 10th, Evans called Ali to inform her that Evans was receiving phone calls from the NABJ and the PABJ regarding Plaintiff’s use of the word at the newsroom editorial meeting. Evans also told Ali that “people [were] talking to [her] on the street” about Plaintiff’s behavior. However, Evans testified in her deposition that she did not actually talk to anyone at the NABJ or the PABJ—she received a voicemail from each organization. Moreover, Evans could not name anyone “on the street” who had spoken to her regarding Plaintiff’s behavior. Evans also told Ali that she was concerned about her on-air chemistry with Plaintiff in light of Plaintiff’s actions. Before Evans’s call, Ali testified that she had no reason to believe that Plaintiff was going to be terminated. Plaintiff was terminated two days after Evans’s conversation with Ali.

Plaintiff also contends that Evans has a history of similar discriminatory behavior. (See Pl.’s Resp. 71-72.) In 2003, a white former Fox News anchor whose contract had not been renewed sued Fox for discrimination in violation of Title VII. See Noonan v. Fox Television Stations of Phila., Inc., No. 03-5044 (E.D. Pa. 2003). The complaint in Noonan alleged that the plaintiff’s contract had not been renewed because Fox wanted to replace him with an African American, which it did after his contract expired. See Complaint, Noonan v. Fox Television Stations of Phila., Inc., No. 03-5044 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 3, 2003), ECF No. 2. In her deposition in Noonan, Evans testified that she had told the General Manager and two News Directors that Fox “had a [news] team that was very white,” and that people were concerned that a Fox News billboard with four white anchors was located in predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods. (Evans Dep. (Noonan) 56:8-9, 58:20-59:4, June 24, 2004, Pl.’s Resp. Ex. TT, ECF No. 28.) When asked who was expressing concern about the racial composition of Fox’s news team, Evans was unable to name anyone specifically, attributing this view to “people on the street” (id. at 57:20) and “people leaving a voice mail.” (Id. at 64:14-15.) Plaintiff argues that the actions of Joyce Evans and his other coworkers in the wake of the June 23rd newsroom editorial meeting were motivated by discriminatory animus and therefore do not provide a permissible basis for his termination. In essence, Plaintiff seeks to hold Defendants liable for the discriminatory animus of his coworkers. Defendants counter that general manager Mike Renda was the sole decisionmaker in terminating Plaintiff’s employment, and there is no evidence that his actions were based on Plaintiff’s race.

We conclude that there is a triable issue of fact as to whether “those exhibiting discriminatory animus influenced or participated in the decision to terminate” Plaintiff. See Abramson, 260 F.3d at 286. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, and making all inferences in his favor, there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Plaintiff’s coworkers in general, and Joyce Evans in particular, exhibited discriminatory animus and influenced the decision to terminate Plaintiff. See id. Evans did not hear Plaintiff’s remarks firsthand. Yet she involved herself in the situation from nearly the beginning, when she called Leslie Tyler at home on a Sunday to inform her about what Plaintiff had said, and remained involved until two days before Plaintiff’s termination, when she phoned Ameena Ali to express concerns about her on-air chemistry with Plaintiff if he returned to work and to inform Ali that “people on the street” were offended by Plaintiff’s behavior. A jury must assess the actions and motivation of Evans, Plaintiff’s coworkers, and the Station management. Viewing the record as a whole, and keeping in mind the Third Circuit’s admonition that “[s]ummary judgment is to be used sparingly in employment discrimination cases,” Doe, 527 F.3d at 369, we conclude that Plaintiff has adduced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to “believe that an invidious discriminatory reason was more likely than not a motivating or determinative cause of the employer’s action.” Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 264. Summary judgment is therefore inappropriate on Plaintiff’s discrimination claims under Title VII, the PHRA, and § 1981.

Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. Defendants argue that there is insufficient evidence to establish a genuine issue of material fact regarding Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim. We agree with Defendants that Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim cannot survive summary judgment.

To establish that Defendants subjected him to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII, Plaintiff must show that: “(1) he suffered intentional discrimination because of his [race]; (2) the discrimination was pervasive and regular; (3) it detrimentally affected him; (4) it would have detrimentally affected a reasonable person of the same protected class in his position; and (5) there is a basis for vicarious liability.” Caver v. City of Trenton, 420 F.3d 243, 262 (3d Cir. 2005) (quoting Cardenas v. Massey, 269 F.3d 251, 260 (3d Cir. 2001) (alterations in the original)).

For Plaintiff to prevail on a claim for hostile work environment, the Station’s discriminatory conduct “must be so ‘severe and pervasive’ that it actually ‘alter[s] the conditions of [the victim’s] employment and create[s] an abusive working environment.’” Faragher v. Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 786 (1998) (alterations in the original). In determining whether the conduct at issue is sufficiently extreme to constitute a violation of Title VII, we must consider the “totality of the circumstances.” Id. (quoting Andrews v. City of Phila., 895 F.2d 1469, 1482 (3d Cir. 1990) (internal quotation marks omitted)). These circumstances “may include the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance.” Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc. 510 U.S. 17, 23 (1993).

Plaintiff has failed to produce sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that he was subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. Plaintiff himself states that the hostile work environment only commenced when he said the word at the June 23, 2007, newsroom editorial meeting. Plaintiff was suspended on June 29th and terminated on July 12th. Thus, Plaintiff alleges that he endured a hostile work environment for the final 19 days of his two-and-a-half-year employment at the Station. He spent all but six of these 19 days at home while suspended. Plaintiff alleges that several incidents during those six days show that he was subjected to a hostile work environment. He points to Joyce Evans’s admonition that Plaintiff could not understand what it feels like to be called a “nigger” and could not use that word at work. He states that his use of the word in the newsroom editorial meeting “elicited a negative response from both coworkers and management because he is white.” He also contends that his coworkers tried to ruin his career by feeding false and defamatory information about him to the media.

We cannot agree that the behavior recited by Plaintiff constitutes behavior that is so severe or so pervasive that it gave rise to a claim for hostile work environment. Indeed, these are precisely the kind of “isolated incidents” and “offhand comments” that the Supreme Court has warned “will not amount to discriminatory changes in the terms and conditions of employment.” Clark Cnty. Sch. Dist. v. Breeden, 532 U.S. 268, 271 (2001) (quoting Faragher, 524 U.S. at 788). Plaintiff has failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact regarding his hostile work environment claim.

Again, under the premise of racial equality a court could note that there is a severe and pervasive discriminatory social norm, clearly present at the FOX station, that Whites are not permitted to utter certain words. The court’s premise is not racial equality because that is not the law’s premise. The conclusion thus is that hostile anti-White social norms are simply normal, and so they are also justified in the workplace.


This case presents unique issues regarding an employer’s liability under Title VII for cultural assumptions about a word that is considered by many to be the most offensive in the English language. Plaintiff portrays himself as a victim of political correctness run amok, while Defendants portray themselves as employers who made the only choice they could in response to an employee who repeatedly uttered “the most noxious racial epithet in the contemporary American lexicon,” Monteiro v. Tempe Union High Sch. Dist., 158 F.3d 1022, 1034 (9th Cir. 1998), resulting in problems in the workplace and significant adverse publicity. Whether Plaintiff was a victim of discrimination or his own poor judgment is for a jury to decide. Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

An appropriate Order follows.

/s/ R. Barclay Surrick
U.S. District Judge

The court implicitly accepts the “cultural assumptions about a word that is considered by many to be the most offensive in the English language”, viewing Burlington either as “a victim of discrimination or his own poor judgment”. The latter possibility implies he is the wrongdoer, that he should have known Whites can be punished for being uppity.

It is easy to imagine that if the races in this case were reversed the situation would be regarded very differently by all concerned. Supposing a black employee brought suit after being dismissed for saying a word, any word, that White employees also used, FOX could be expected to simply settle, perhaps sensing the likelyhood that arguing White co-workers are not “similarly situated” to a black plaintiff could be interpreted as prima facie discrimination, not to mention the bad publicity that would result from any suggestion there are words Whites can use but blacks can’t. Whether or not such arguments were even made the black plaintiff could still file his own request for summary judgment and have a reasonable expectation that the court would be deferential to the sensibilities and sensitivities of “African Americans” and grant it.

Not only does it appear that FOX treated Burlington to a different standard and fired him because he is White, the law itself regards him and his claims as inferior specifically because he is White. Since the law of the land discriminates against Whites, why shouldn’t employers or anybody else do so?

Other questions come to mind.

The court recognizes “white” and “African American” as racial classifications. Who decides which classifications are valid and what the proper term for them is? The term for blacks has constantly shifted, so isn’t it reasonable to expect that at some point older terms like “negro” or “black”, euphemisms like “the n-word”, or even the term “African American” itself, will also become socially and legally forbidden for Whites to speak?

Who assigns these classifications to the various actors? If one of Burlington’s great-grandparents was in fact a negro, would he be entitled to claim he is “African American” and thus entitled to say nigger?

Ameena Ali and Barclay Surrick play a central role in this case. Why are their racial classifications not provided?

Does the law agree with Metlin’s implicit assumption that jews are a “protected class”? Are jews thus also entitled not to suffer hearing certain words from lesser Whites?

Isn’t “anti-discrimination” just another code word for anti-White?

– – –

Philadelphia Inquirer report dated 5 Jan 2011: Trial set for firing over use of ‘n’ word.

Philadelphia Inquirer report dated 5 July 2007: Fox’s Tom Burlington suspended.

Giffords Shot, White Vitriol Blamed

How do we know it’s White vitriol? Because that’s the only vitriol anybody in media or politics ever calls vitriol.

Many of the initial news reports spread blame via broad references to Arizonans, Tea Partiers, and Sarah Palin (and her fans).

A typical example of the mass White guilt-by-association is Sarah Palin under fire as Arizona sheriff blames political ‘vitriol’ for triggering ‘unstable’ Safeway gunman’s massacre:

‘When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,’ Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told a news conference.

‘The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.

‘And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.’

He added: ‘That may be free speech. But it’s not without consequence.’

In using the word mecca Dupnik was clearly implying that fanatically bigoted White people are flocking and clustering in Arizona. He wasn’t referring to crazy muslims, and definitely wasn’t trying to remind anyone about Nidal Malik Hasan. That mass murder was completely different. That took place in Texas, not Arizona, and Hasan shouted “allah ackbar”, which has nothing whatsoever to do with who he shared his views with. How can we be sure Dupnik wasn’t broadly disparaging muslims? Because nobody has accused him of that. The many, many people quoting that particular word all seem to understand exactly which “prejudiced bigots” Dupnik was putting down.

Likewise, nobody’s making any comparisons to black mass-“racist”-killer Omar Thornton. Which is odd because White “prejudiced bigots” were assigned responsibility in that case too.

On Saturday night it was still possible to wonder how a White guy shooting a bunch of White people could inspire such invective about bigotry. The link seemed unusually tenuous, based as it was on the fast and lose assumption that Giffords was shot because she was a leftwinger who favored immigration and healthcare reform. But apparently no smear is too tenuous to believe about prejudiced, bigoted White people, being the greedy stupid latent nazis we are, always looking for any excuse to vent our well-documented proclivity for vitriol, mob violence, lynching, gassing, etc.

The link came into better focus in Sunday’s news. Gabrielle Giffords shooting reignites row over rightwing rhetoric in US | World news | The Guardian:

The National Jewish Democratic Council – Giffords is the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from Arizona – saw the attack as emanating from the polarised political debate: “It is fair to say – in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric – that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired.”

Giffords’s father was blunter. Asked if she had any enemies, he said: “Yeah, the whole Tea Party.”

“Rightwing rhetoric” is a codeword for “evil White speech”, because it’s clear the NJDC is not talking about jewish rhetoric. The full NJDC statement was even broader and blunter than Gifford’s father. Statement on the Attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords | NJDC Blog:

National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) Chair Marc R. Stanley and Vice-Chair Marc Winkelman today issued the following statment:

“NJDC’s leaders and members are stunned and horrified by the attack today on Gabby Giffords, Arizona’s first Jewish Congresswoman. Representative Giffords is a courageous and vibrant leader dedicated to advancing the causes and values we care so deeply about. Beyond being an advocate for health care reform and immigration reform, as well as the people of Arizona, she is our close friend. Gabby, those who were murdered and injured, and their families all remain in our thoughts and prayers.

The tragic attack on Representative Giffords, her staff, and citizens participating in the practice of democracy in Arizona is beyond reprehensible. One suspect, now in custody, may be directly responsible for this crime. But it is fair to say – in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric – that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired. Throughout the health care reform debate, we saw an ever-worsening level of political discourse – frequently pointing fingers at Democratic members of Congress who were supposedly directly threatening our country and our way of life. As elections approached, members of Congress increasingly received death threats, even as our public debate became more and more coarse.

As we learned in Israel through the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, words – and an eroding public discourse – can have profound consequences. The rhetoric of hate and anger must be banished from our political discourse before the next calamity takes place.

The loss of any life – and the injury of any American – is unacceptable. While we do not yet know exactly what motivated this deranged gunman, improving the tenor of our public debate can only help. It is up to us to act now. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.”

Got that? The NJDC doesn’t know what motivated the shooting, but they know White political discourse equals vitriol and their desire to banish political discourse equals dedication to advancing their causes and values. They also know that jew does not equal White. Because if it did they would be silencing their own rhetoric of hate and anger.

Here’s the Jewish Daily Forward’s view of how well Giffords senses and serves jewish interests. Gabrielle Giffords Shot in the Head:

Giffords, 40, is a member of the powerful Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science and Technology. A third-generation Arizonan, she is part of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions.

She is a vocal advocate for renewable energy, particularly solar energy, and has said improving security along the U.S.-Mexico border is among her top priorities. She is also a supporter of Israel, and is considered a safe pro-Israel vote in the House.

Giffords’ Jewish roots run deep. As the Forward reported back in 2006, her paternal grandfather, the son of a Lithuanian rabbi, was born Akiba Hornstein. He changed his name, first to Gifford Hornstien and later to Gifford Giffords, apparently to shield himself from anti-Semitism out West.

The congresswoman is the daughter of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. In 2001, then a state senator, Giffords traveled to Israel on a trip sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. It was that trip, she said,, that solidified her connection to her Jewish roots and her commitment to living as a Jew.

“I was raised not to really talk about my religious beliefs,” Giffords said, in an interview with Jewish Woman magazine. ”Going to Israel was an experience that made me realize there were lots of people out there who shared my beliefs and values and spoke about them openly.”

Giffords is an active member of Congregation Chaverim, a Reform synagogue in Tucson, where she said Rabbi Stephanie Aaron is her spiritual mentor. She is also among five members of Congress to serve on United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

The two links embedded in the quote above drive home the significance jews attach to their identity, group awareness, and overrepresentation in politics. Note: none of this is bigotry until jewish political organizations see some bigot trying to practice democracy and engage in political discourse about it.

Giffords is 1st female Jew elected from Ariz.:

While Jews comprise roughly 2 percent of the U.S. population, they’re now at a record-high level of 8 percent in the 110th Congress, statistics provided by the National Jewish Democratic Council show.

Giffords, who attends Tucson’s Congregation Chaverim, is one of six freshman Jewish members in the U.S. House of Representatives, and one of 30 Jews with House seats. Thirteen of the U.S. Senate’s 100 seats are held by Jews.

Interview with Gabrielle Giffords:

The member of Congress from Arizona’s 8th District says her Jewish values have played an important part in shaping her philosophy.

Naturally Cathy Lynn Grossman, writing in her Faith & Reason column for USAToday, wondered if Giffords and her aide, Gabe Zimmerman, were targeted because they’re jewish. Sure, one of Loughner’s favorite books was Mein Kampf, but the real reason is Giffords’ strong jewish identity.

Again, the “global news service of the jewish people” was broader and blunter. Memo notes Giffords’ Judaism in motives of alleged attacker:

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.

The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.

“The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.

The bigotry at American Renaissance runs so deep that they don’t accept the jewish premise that jews aren’t White. To prove the point, AmRen responded with that classic incriminating line, “some of our best friends are jews!”

The people who wrote and reported that FOX/DHS memo may have known this, or maybe they just think being anti-government and anti-immigration is close enough to “anti-semitism” for government work. Sure, jews were anti-government back in the sixties, full of angry vitriol about the White establishment. But that was good. It’s only “anti-semitism” if you say it was bad. Now that jews are so overrepresented in government, anti-government is bad and the government’s obsession with fighting “anti-semitism” is good.

To drive home just how unacceptable AmRen’s kind of bigotry and “anti-semitism” really is the “global news service of the jewish people” article included this gem about wise jewesses:

“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time. “Jewish women — by our tradition and by the way we were raised — have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done, and pull people together to be successful.”

To be honest, “zionist occupied government” is a kind of joke. Jews can recite a million ways the government could better serve their interests, and only a fraction of those have anything to do with zionism. Sure, shootings prompt jews to round up and silence their enemies, but that’s just a dim echo of the glory days in the old Soviet Union, when “anti-semitism” was punishable by death.

Jeet Heer, Afraid of Nazis

In my recent post about Sobran I linked Jeet Heer’s Joseph Sobran: Far Worse than a Holocaust Skeptic. I left a few critical comments there which were greeted by Heer and his peanut gallery with the usual dehumanizing and intolerant attitude jews and their sympathizers so typically project onto others.

To Heer’s credit, he let my comments stand. Last night I made a lengthy response to another comment and it got stuck in the moderation queue. Six hours later Heer announced that he was tired of letting “nazis” say “nazi” things and therefore, ACHTUNG!, he was closing the comments. I don’t expect Heer will let my last remark through, so I’m posting it here instead. For context I encourage you to first read Heer’s attack on Sobran and the thread of responses that followed.

PuffsPlus writes:

For those of you who don’t know, Tanstaafl is a blogger who wants a white-only ethnostate that excludes anyone with Jewish DNA. That would include his kids, because his wife’s father was a Jewish convert, IIRC. So Tanstaafl’s unreasonable hatred of Jews extends to the point of dreaming of a white-only country that would exclude his own children. Chew on that for a moment.

I realize I’m among enemies here, but I’m still chagrined to find such intellects overlooking the link in my name, and now acting like they’ve unmasked a stealthy boogeyman. Those who want something more than gossip and innuendo can chew on what I’ve actually written and decide for themselves if it’s unreasonable:

Of Whites, by Whites, and for Whites

A Personal Disclosure

It pleasures me to point out to my own kind (passing by or lurking here) the dishonesty of jewish partisans when facing non-jewish partisans. Regarding exclusion, my kids and I are excluded from Israel. Jewish hypocrisy rankles, but the exclusion from Israel not at all. You’d think those alienated by Whites would, of their own volition, not want to live among us. But no, the truth is they panic at the thought of being removed from their host. Claws and fangs come out because they much prefer to neutralize our partisans in order to lord over the rest. It reflects the jewish tendency toward totalitarianism which fully bloomed most recently and catastrophically as bolshevism. More recently it manifests as orwellian language, political correctness, and the criminalization of “hate”, all while they project their own control-freak nature onto “nazis”. As Chomsky put it, 98% control just isn’t enough.

I see the norm here is to make grade school cases that rest on, for example, Sobran being “a fellow traveller to Nazism” and a “white nationalist defense of Sobran is far more damning”. Never mind that Sobran’s “nazism” is no more than the allergic reaction he causes jews, or the chauvinist jewish premise, unspoken and undefended, that Whites must not have what jews have (White nationalism) because it’s bad for jews. The attack on Sobran and response to my counterpoints amounts to the presumption that anyone who will not accept that jewish interests outweigh their own is a heretic. Yes, such heresy is literally unthinkable for most jews, and most would make it unspeakable as well. No so the rest of us. So I ask again Heer, are you a jew, or a useful idiot?

The sad fact is that jew-firsters will have to keep repressing the rest of us, or get far away from us. I think the main reason more diaspora jews don’t opt for the latter (beside not wanting to live among their own kind) is because they suspect when the lid comes off the precedents set by the Nuremberg trials and the later worldwide manhunts may repeat. As David Sachs worries, he and every jew he knows would all be forced (by “anti-semites” of course) to leap to every other jew’s defense. The one thing that is virtually certain, evident in a millenia-long pattern, is that jews will continue to blame whatever goes wrong entirely on everybody else, especially those who reject their authority.

I went to Heer’s latest post, Coren and Conservative Revisionism (wherein he denounces “conservative revisionism” as a defense of “nazism” and “fascism”) and left another comment:

A comment of mine on the Sobran thread has been stuck in the moderation queue since six hours before you declared it closed.

Speaking of fascism, I’m wondering if you’re going to let it through, or delete it.

I then read his post and watched the Michael Coren Show video he linked, to which I made the following comment:

Regarding the video you linked, the earnest disagreement about Vietnam-era US military demographics was interesting. Apparently, in cases like this, it’s acceptable and important to argue about who was overrepresented, even though the whole enterprise is long past. What makes this part of the discussion so interesting is how it is interwoven with a non-debate of jewish overrepresentation in media today. Discussion of that disparity ended almost before it began, caricaturized and dismissed by Gordon as a “standard anti-semitic myth” that’s “boring”, and ultimately transformed by Coren into a red herring about how two jews can be counted on to have three opinions.

The point is that in the current mainstream media environment jews are free to argue out loud and at length about what’s good for jews. Meanwhile, anyone who complains about this, or who tries to discuss what’s good for their group (especially Whites), is pathologized and excluded with terminology such as “kook”, “nazi”, “fascist”, “racist”, “nativist”, “xenophobe”, “anti-semite”, “denier”, “minimizer”, “revisionist”, etc.

Whether this situation arises as a consequence of jewish disparities in ownership, control, employment, or just naive goyim favoritism for jews is really beside the point. The point is that there is a clear double-standard in how Whites and jews are treated – jews and their concerns strongly favored, Whites and our concerns strongly disfavored. This is no myth. Nor is it boring. But it is perfectly understandable why jews and their supporters try to deny or minimize it.

Upon posting this I noticed that my previous comment had been deleted. A few minutes later this last comment disappeared as well.

It’s telling that reasoned and on-topic comments are deleted by someone who so hates “nazism” and “fascism”. It’s not pigeon-holing enemies or squelching dissent that disturbs Heer. He’s a comic fanboy and culture critic. In those very jewish worlds dehumanization and censorship are only crimes when it happens to the nazi-fighting good-guys. Naturally I wonder if Heer is some kind of desi-jew. If not, then I wonder if he’s ever wondered just how steeped in jewish thought he is.

Curiously, Heer has been critical of zionism and neocons, writing things like Israel’s creation: Ethnic cleansing by any other name, The Jewish state and its enablers, and Operation Anglosphere. Perhaps he’s trying to compensate for this by pathologizing other people’s criticism of jews.

In Heer’s Anglosphere piece he attaches significance to where someone is born. Why then his hostility to the notion that an identity conveyed by genes and upbringing can have significance? Is it only jewish identity which is exempt, or exempt from critique? He’s not squeamish about attaching significance to “anti-semitism” and “nazism”. What’s that? Where does it come from? He doesn’t seem to care. He uses the words as if they’re magic.

Maybe he’ll drop by and clear up some of these questions. Based on his lame response to challenges at his own blog, I doubt it.