I wavered a few minutes before posting this postmortem of the Clive Bates postmortem of the Ashton kefuffle.
Screw it. RHFS is an awesome writer and has additional insight into the bigger picture.
[BTW: this Prof. Ashton is also the chair on Alcohol Research UK! I shit you not: http://prntscr.com/4nf6gt ]
I don’t know about you, but I have been called far worse things than an “onanist” or a “c**t”. Sometimes, I even deserved it. But given that I’m not made of glass and have even – and look away now if you’re easily offended – used such words myself, it’s hardly the end of the world. It’s entirely inappropriate and unprofessional for somebody in high public office to use such language when engaging on a public platform, but c’est la vie. So sure, apologize for being Mr. Sweary of a Saturday night. Or don’t, and see who cares. Nobody in my house, and that’s for sure.
What is, I feel, astonishing about this statement from FPH is what they didn’t say. They didn’t make any form of apology for the attitudes displayed by Ashton. They didn’t distance themselves from these attitudes. And they didn’t offer assurances that these attitudes were unrepresentative of the FPH corporate culture. Those are the things they needed to do. All they have done with this statement is say something along the lines of…
“We’re sorry for John’s swearing. We’re sorry he took a few things personally. But don’t go imagining even for a moment that we’re going to apologize for the bigotry and prejudice that was revealed when the mask slipped.”
Again, that is unacceptable. It’s PUBLIC health. It’s not some cosy socialist boys’ club. It’s a serious enterprise that, supposedly, exists to serve the interests of the wider population.
Finally, some career advice.
Usually I would be the last person to offer career advice. I was the girl who believed them when they said “Become a graphic designer. It will be fun”. I’m going to make an exception. One time only deal.
So, if you work in public health and your idea of serving the health of the public involves any of the following…
- Accusing people of being something they’re not, without a shred of supporting evidence
- Making hit and run inflammatory attacks on social media
- Allowing your own personal ideologies to drive your actions
- Responding to those angered by such actions with abuse
- Failing to apologize for those things you got wrong
- Calling people out as trolls for doing exactly the same things you do yourself in a tight spot
…please seek out an alternative line of employment at your earliest convenience. The one you’re in right now doesn’t seem to agree with you.