More PC Police
by Tim Stelloh, February 23, 2010
Here's a copy of the e-mail (courtesy of Washington City Paper) that got Chris Dovi, a Style Weekly reporter, fired after the e-mail was accidentally sent to the PR guy for a blind motivational speaker named William Weeks (i.e., the "blind fucker" Dovi's referring to below). Dovi thought the e-mail was going to his editor.
This guy is trying to kill me. He may be the most tenacious [PR] flack of all time. He's been calling me about this blind fucker for four weeks. I keep telling him I'll consider it and he keeps calling back. Finally I tell him it's up to my editor and he still keeps calling back because he can't get you on the phone. Now he's back again! He's making me want to claw my own eyes out in the hopes that if he won't just get lost, I at least won't have to look at his press release anymore!
After getting the e-mail, Goldman & Associates, the PR firm responsible for all those irritating calls, sent out the following press release, headlined "Reporter's Obscene Email Reveals Society's Prejudice Against the Disabled:"
An obscene e-mail a reporter apparently intended to send to another newsroom staffer at Style Weekly in Richmond, Va. The reporter used the phrase blind f**cker (edited here) when describing William Weeks, a blind motivational speaker who will be making his 'Brace for Impact' presentation on February 25 in Richmond and in later dates in cities in states across the Mid-Atlantic. Mr. Weeks' seminar focuses on how to overcome adversity, something he has faced since he lost his sight to disease as a child.
A copy of Dovi's e-mail was attached to the release. "This is a sad and telling example of the prejudice that persons with disabilities still face," the release quotes Weeks as saying. "In making this e-mail public, we hope to raise awareness of the very real challenges so many people in America face every day."
Dovi was then fired. His editors said he'd "violated the core values" of Style Weekly.
Which, again, is absurd. There's not a thing in that e-mail to indicate Dovi's a bigot. Sure, he's crass. He's definitely not PC. And he's obviously careless. But prejudiced against the disabled? Good god. Turns out the guy's own dad is blind in one eye from a stroke that paralyzed the left half of his body, and he suffers from expressive aphasia--that is, he can only answer yes and no.