Thursday, November 16, 2017

Donald De La Haye vs. NCAA (2016-Present)

Controversy
The National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) is one of the biggest associations in the world without a doubt. The non-profit organization, manages 98 athletic conferences that house approximately 1,123 colleges and universities. From these 1,123 colleges and universities, there are almost half a million student athletes. In recent years a topic of discussion regarding student athletes and the NCAA has been, Should student athletes get paid for playing collegiate sports? Some people argue that student athletes should get paid seeing that they devote just about all of their
The NCAA generates an estimated $1 billion per year.
free time towards the schools athletic program and that playing collegiate sports is like having a full-time job. Others would argue that most of these student's are receiving a free education, receiving free equipment and school apparel and that is enough compensation to be play collegiate sports. 

De La Haye (pictured) created his YouTube channel back in 2015.
Currently, student athletes cannot get paid for their performance. There is an entire handbook written by the NCAA that has all of the rules and regulations that each student athlete must follow to stay eligible to continue to play for their respected school. A few rules from the handbook are that a student athlete cannot be paid for their performance, A student athlete cannot receive any benefit that is not available to other students at the college or university. These are just a few of many rules and regulations that each student athlete needs to follow to stay eligible. Recently a member of the University of Central Florida's football team, kicker Donald De La Haye came into the news for being deemed ineligible to play by the NCAA. The NCAA says the De La Haye violated NCAA rules by receiving money from advertisements on monetized videos that De La Haye posted onto his YouTube channel. The NCAA says that once De La Haye started to make his videos monetized is when he violated NCAA rules. The NCAA says that De La Haye was generating revenue from his likeliness, and him being a student athlete. After being contacted by the NCAA, and meeting with them various times regarding that YouTube channel and generating revenue from it, the NCAA gave De La Haye an ultimatum. He could keep his YouTube channel while still playing football at UCF and stay at school under a few conditions. He had to take down every video that referenced him being a student athlete, and every video that showed his athletic ability, as well as never post a video along those lines again, and donate all of the money he earned to a charity of his choosing. The second option was to be keep the channel and the money, but be deemed ineligible, which UCF would then remove him from the team for violating NCAA rules, and then lose his football scholarship which would also result in him not being able to attend school for financial reasons. De La Haye choose the second option, seeing that he thought the NCAA was being unreasonable. De La Haye says that a lot of his videos involve football, and that he couldn't just not make any videos that involved it. He said that the NCAA told him that he wouldn't even be able to throw a football with his friends in a video. De La Haye is now pursuing to finish his degree, as well a profession in professional photography and videography.  

Stakeholders
UCF has received backlash for removing
De La Haye from the football team.
When you look back at this controversy and think about who is affected by it, you see three stakeholders. One is Donald De La Haye. He has the biggest stake within this controversy. His college football career is at stake, his education is at stake, and his YouTube channel is at stake. De La Haye being forced to decide between two things he loves(Football, and YouTube) which from one perspective seems like it would be an easy choice. Pick the option where you can still go to school for free. But when you believe that you aren't doing anything wrong, the choice isn't that easy. From another perspective, it seems wrong to fault a student for making money and being a successful entrepreneur, when that's what he's learning to be in school. A second stakeholder would be the NCAA. The NCAA is affected because they found that De La Haye was violating NCAA rules. The NCAA has strict rules about players being paid, and they are affected when a student athlete violates these rules. A final stakeholder is the University of Central Florida. They are affected because they are supposed to be implementing the NCAA rules and regulations, which if the NCAA is finding De La Haye of violating those rules, then UCF is not implementing the way they are supposed to. UCF also had to remove De La Haye from the football team, as well as revoke his scholarship. UCF is also affected by gaining negative attention for the removal of De La Haye from the football team. Some people have called out the school publicly on YouTube in the comment section of De La Haye's videos. 

Individualism
Individualism states that "business actions should maximize profits for owners of a business, but do this within the law" (Salazar, 17.) Not only do they need to maximize profits within the law, they must respect human rights as well. This is exactly what the NCAA is doing. They are maximizing profits for the owners within the law. Legally speaking, the NCAA is not required to pay student athletes for performance. Although you could argue that the NCAA isn't respecting the human rights of the student athlete's and should be paying the student athletes, they aren't required to. Not by the law, and not by the set of rules that the NCAA had created. So the NCAA is following the Individualism theory perfectly, as the NCAA does not pay the student athletes to play, they don't pay for the student's scholarships, and they don't pay for any of the equipment or apparel that is given to the athletes. From De La Haye's standpoint, athletes aren't being paid for their service to the NCAA, and their right to minimum wage. It's a hard conversation because it becomes not a legal conversation to pay the student athlete's, it's a ethical conversation. 
A comic published in the Huffington Post references
what student athlete's cannot receive vs. what
they do receive.

Utilitarianism
In the comic pictured to the right, it shows two college athletes who are pulling a car, that is owned by the NCAA. In the conversation between the athletes, one says "No money, No gifts, No cars, No endorsement deals, Tell me again, why are we doing this?" and the other responds with "For an education, but I'm not feeling too smart" This comic references what collegiate athletes are not eligible to receive, and what they do receive as a student athlete. With the conversation in the comic, the athletes are not happy with what they can't receive, and what they do receive isn't enough. Utilitarianism states that "the business actions should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run for all conscious beings that are affected by the business action." So in this case in a perfect world, De La Haye would be able to make his YouTube videos, and receive the money from the advertisements while playing football at the University of Central Florida, making money for the NCAA. But this is not a perfect world, and that scenario cannot exist. De La Haye isn't happy in this controversy, he feels singled out, and thinks that there are bigger things that NCAA should worry about. A quote from one of his videos, says "You have some NCAA athlete's out here smoking weed, beating women, only getting a slap on the wrist with one game suspensions, and here I am being ruled ineligible for making YouTube videos, and pursuing my career." Under utilitarianism, this controversy would be unethical, with De La Haye who is affected being unhappy. 

Kantianism   
Kantianism asks that we treat people with respect and treat them as equally capable of living an autonomous life. Simplified, it means to treat people right, and do the right thing. The NCAA does not seem to be following this. With the De La Haye controversy, the NCAA is restricting his freedom, not allowing De La Haye to make money of future videos that involved football, the NCAA, and UCF makes sense, and made sense to De La Haye, but it was telling De La Haye, that if he kept his channel, and wanted to play football that he would have to donate his previously earned money to a charity of his choosing. This was the part that didn't make sense. De La Haye said "I worked hard for this money, and now I can't keep it?" After doing a little research on how much a YouTuber makes, with De La Haye's views and subscriber count, it's estimated he had generated around ten thousand dollars from his videos. The NCAA, generates over a billion dollars a year, is concerned with ten thousand dollars. De La Haye was also quoted saying, "They make millions of my name, but I can't make a few thousand off of mine?" Which a lot of people who commented on De La Haye's videos seemed to agree with. De La Haye also claims that the NCAA, and his coaching staff at UCF seemed to be against him throughout the whole process, and it didn't seem like anyone had his back. If these claims are accurate, and the NCAA and UCF were not being respectful during this process, that would be considered unethical using the Kantianism Theory.  


De La Haye (pictured) will not play again at UCF.
Virtue Theory      
The Virtue Theory states that "Character traits that promote wellness or flourishing of individuals within a society." Personally, I think that the NCAA is a greedy company, that wouldn't promote wellness to any individual within a society unless it had money attached to it. I also believe that the NCAA doesn't seem to care much about it's student athletes as much as they claim. They don't care whether you go to school for one year and go pro, or if you stay for four years, and receive your degree. They just care about the dollar signs, and how much of those dollar signs they're bringing in off of the players. To promote wellness, would ensure that the student athletes are happy, which for a lot of those athletes would be a pay wage for the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that these student athletes put in for their respected schools. Ultimately, I think that the NCAA should look at what they're doing from an ethical standpoint and ask themselves if everything they're doing is ethically and morally right. 



Works Cited    
                                                                                                                                              1.)    “Deestroying.” YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/channel/UC4mLlRa_dezwvytudo9s1sw.

2.)   “NCAA rules UCF kicker ineligible for monetizing videos.” SI.com, www.si.com/college-                    football/2017/07/31/ucf-kicker-donald-de-la-haye-ineligible-ncaa-youtube-videos.                  

3.) “Search NCAA.Org.” NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA
         www.ncaa.org/gsearch/ncaa%20constitution%20bylaws.     

4.)     Vcortez. “What is the NCAA?” NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA, 19 Sept. 2017,      www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/ncaa-101/what-ncaa.

5.)    Wolken, Dan. “UCF kicker controversy wouldn't happen if NCAA gave athletes the rights they deserve.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 1 Aug. 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/columnist/dan-wolken/2017/08/01/ucf-kicker-and-youtube-videos-ncaa-again-plays-villain/530965001/.                                    









Saturday, November 11, 2017

Equifax Data Breach

Controversy
Equifax headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia 
On September 15th, 2017, the consumer credit reporting giant Equifax announced a massive cyber-security breach to the world affecting approximately 143 million Americans. It soon came to light that although Equifax reported this breach in September, they had actually been the target of numerous breaches going as far back as May. Despite discovering these breaches internally in late July, Equifax had delayed informing the millions of people whose personal information were now vulnerable and at risk of having their identities stolen.  
Due to the unprecedented amount of people affected by this, Equifax quickly found itself under public scrutiny for their apparent lack of initiative and is now facing what may be the largest class-action lawsuit in US history. While Equifax has officially kept quiet as to why they had waited so long to inform the public about the breaches, further investigation into the breach has brought some troubling findings to light, only deepening Equifax’s woes.
The underlying issue to the breaches themselves could be traced to an exploit present in their software framework that allowed the hackers to access sensitive information. As it turned out the patch for this exploit was released nearly 2 months before the first breach and had it been applied to the system the breach would not have happened. Despite the patch being readily available, Equifax’s tech employees failed in up-keeping their internal systems. Additionally since 2015, the company had been lobbying lawmakers to lessen the amount they would have to pay in lawsuits by consumers, only making the company seem further reckless and inconsiderate about their own actions. In response to complaints, Equifax offered customers free credit monitoring service for a year and the ability to freeze their credit for free. However the monitoring service is also owned by Equifax, putting themselves in a position to eventually profit off of those signing up for the service.
Using some of the most prevalent ethical theories including Individualism, Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue Theory, this post will look into whether or not Equifax was ethical in their actions following the breach.

Stakeholders
Size of the breach compared to recent incidents
Equifax is a large consumer credit reporting agency which collects and reports information on people and business worldwide. As such, between shareholders, employees, consumers, and those with their information stored stored by Equifax, the amount of stakeholders around the globe can be estimated to be well over 800 million individuals with 143 million in the US alone. When the breaches were eventually announced, millions of Americans found themselves at risk of identity theft after learning that their information was potentially stolen. Once it became clear how serious the breaches were, Equifax's stock tumbled nearly 25% to its lowest value in years. As a result, Equifax's quarterly earning performed less than expected making the company's future uncertain. However those who had their information breached are the worst affected, as these people are now at risk for identity theft, putting their entire livelihoods at risk.
Individualism
Equifax stocks suffered due to the incident
Individualism is the concept of putting a company's profits first so long as they're remaining lawful. In the company's own right, they had not broken any clear laws. They had lawfully obtained people's data from companies, banks, lenders, retailers and others in order to use this information to rate how creditworthy a given person or business is. Consumers allow their information to be shared whenever they use these services and agree to their terms, which is how Equifax is able to gather their data. While Equifax also took well over a month to announce the breach, they were still within the necessary deadlines to inform consumers of a breach in accordance to US law. With most state laws not having firm deadlines on how quickly a company needs to inform consumers of breach, the shortest amount of time is typically a month. Because Equifax was operating within the law and because most laws on informing consumers are relatively lax, Equifax was partly ethical from a Individualist standpoint. However the major issue was the hit on Equifax's profits that occurred due to their actions. The company was more than likely going to suffer public backlash due to the leak however waiting so long only made matters worse and hurt their previously unremarkable reputation. Because of this an Individualist would consider Equifax to be unethical.
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is the theory that happiness or pleasure are the only things of intrinsic value. If a company is not actively trying to spread the most good to the maximum amount of people then it is not following the utilitarian ethics model. In this case Equifax was responsible for ensuring the maximum amount of happiness for its stakeholders which include consumers, stock holders, businesses, and employees. As a credit reporting agency Equifax held the confidential data of millions of people, data which included people's names, social security numbers, birthdays, and even addresses. Due to the sensitivity of such information the stakes of a breach were huge and could potentially ruin lives if the data was put in the wrong hands. By failing to safeguard all of this information and not informing consumers straight away Equifax was actually harming their stakeholders. A Utilitarian would have seen it as absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of such valuable data in order to give consumers piece of mind and keep them safe from identity theft, by not doing so Equifax was unethical from a Utilitarian standpoint.
Kantianism

It took nearly 6 weeks for Equifax to inform consumers
Kantianism focuses on acting rationally, respecting the autonomy of others, being motivated by good will, and seeking to to whats right. In this way of thought, exploiting others for personal gain is looked down upon. By not having a secure system in place, failing to alert consumers as soon as possible, and having people sign up for another one of their own services, Equifax fails this test. In today's world, private data such as those leaked can cause huge amounts of suffering to those whose information was stolen. A major tenant of Kantianism is giving the people adequate resources to make their own rationale decisions. Because most people unknowingly provided Equifax with their private information and weren't informed about the breach until months after it happened a Kantian would be absolutely appalled by Equifax's handling of the matter and the entire data collection model they employ. In no way shape or form was Equifax being ethical from a Kantian perspective.
Virtue Theory
Virtue theory covers four various virtues, honesty, courage, temperance, and justice. When it came to honesty for coming forward with the breach, Equifax failed miserably. When it was first discovered that there had been a breach they had waited nearly 6 weeks before alerting consumers when damages could have already been done. Equifax also fails when it comes to courage as they were likely looking at their own best interests before coming clean with the breach. It sounds simple that if people's information were at risk that they should have alerted consumers however they chose to wait as they were likely afraid of the consequences. As for temperance Equifax didn't seem to have reasonable expectations for the situation either. Coming out sooner would have benefited those affected by the leak and by waiting so long they would inevitably be hurting themselves and their own credibility. Unsurprisingly delaying the announcement only made the situation worse and made for a bigger mess for everyone. In terms of justice Equifax is now looking like the faceless, uncaring company that isn't concerned for people's well beings. They couldn't store private information safely and as a result the stakeholders are being hurt the most from the situation. By also recommending their own services for credit monitoring, it would appear that they're also trying to help themselves in the fallout which certainly isn't justice by any means. Therefore by virtue theory Equifax also wasn't ethical as they failed to even consider if their actions were following these simple virtues. Had they put these virtues in mind with their decision making it would have made the whole situation much better for everyone.

References
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/business/equifax-cyberattack.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-equifax-breach/equifax-failed-to-patch-security-vulnerability-in-march-former-ceo-idUSKCN1C71VY

https://www.wsj.com/articles/equifax-lobbied-for-easier-regulation-before-data-breach-1505169330

http://bgr.com/2017/09/08/equifax-hack-lawsuit-class-action-how-to-join/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/before-the-breach-equifax-sought-to-limit-exposure-to-lawsuits/2017/09/19/8e6c8020-9d47-11e7-9083-fbfddf6804c2_story.html?utm_term=.5c8e0fefd5da





Starbucks Red Cups (2015)




Starbucks Red Cup Controversy of 2015

The evolution of the Starbucks Red cup design

Controversy 

Image result for starbucks red cup controversy videoStarbucks is one of the leading coffee shops in the world with over 23,000 stores across 68 countries. Although Starbucks is most commonly known for their high quality coffee at a pretty hefty price compared to competitors, they were involved in a huge controversy in 2015 regarding their winter themed cups. Starting in 1997 Starbucks started releasing winter seasoned cups, mostly pertaining to the Christmas holiday. Many cups featured reindeer, snowman, ornaments, snowflakes, and other things that make you think about the holiday season. This theme came to a halt in 2015 when the cup was released and it was a plain red cup. Starbucks intent was for customers to create their own story on the cup with a sharpie or pen. It was supposed to be a new innovative cup but their new idea took a turn for the worst when people started to react and the internet took a story and blew it way out of proportion. It all started with a American englavist named Joshua Feurenstein who posted a video on Facebook which soon got over 15 million views and over 500,000 shares. This video contained this man in an uproar saying that Christmas was cancelled and this is a an attack against the Christians. “Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ, and Christmas, off of their brand-new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red,”, a quote from Feurenstein in the video. Starbucks made the mistake of not addressing this situation immediately. It is hard to predict how the customers would react with the new plain cup design, or lack of design, but when things took a turn for the worse they did not react well. The cups were released on November first, the video was posted on November fifth, and Starbucks didn't release a statement regarding the controversy until 3 days later on the eighth of November. By that time the video had reached millions and millions of likes and shares, the word had gotten out to people, and many were already offended. If Starbucks had released a statement regarding their intentions of the plain cup sooner, it may have not even become a controversy and people wouldn't have been so outraged. This is a prime example of how social media can be such a huge source of news, and blow things so far out of proportion that it hurts companies, or people who didn't really have bad intentions. 


Stakeholders

Image result for starbucksStakeholders are people who affect or are affected by a company’s actions. So in this case any customer who is offended by the Starbucks cups are stakeholders in this controversy. Stakeholders could also be anyone who bought a drink from Starbucks while the red cups were being used in the holiday season. They are a stakeholder because they are buying a product from this company and they could have chosen to buy coffee somewhere else and may begin to boycott Starbucks because of the controversy. Despite the red cup controversy causing such an uproar and generally having their name attached to a negative video and poor publicity, sales rose 9% in the last three months of 2015(when the controversy occurred). So the stockholders and Starbucks itself would be stakeholders but it wasn't a negative affect unlike many of the other stakeholders. I think that employees would also be shareholders because they got a lot of negativity towards them not saying merry Christmas when customers come in, and having a bad rep because they work at a company that took the Christmas spirit tradition out of the cups. I'd say the people most affected would be the christians who feel deeply offended by Starbucks actions of removing the Christmas spirit from the cups that they release every year during the holiday season. 


Individualism

Individualism is the theory that pushes maximizing your profits as much as possible without breaking the law. No laws were broken by Starbucks during this controversy and they did end up increasing their profits by 9% during the last 3 months. During the company earning call in January of 2016 the CEO noted that it was by far the most successful holiday season they had thus far. The attention that rose from the video may have harmed some peoples feelings but it sure didn't harm Starbucks revenue. Starbucks intention was to release a new different holiday cup to get people to be creative and have fun while drinking their hot coffees in the chilly winter months. I think Starbucks intentions were to maximize their profits and the people who felt highly offended about the idea took it a little too far. They soon offended many people who are religiously affiliated with the Christian faith and felt that it was an attack against them. From an individualistic standpoint, Starbucks did not break any laws during this controversy and they did intend and successfully maximize their profits so they would be deemed to be ethical by an individualistic person.  
Image result for starbucks

Utilitarianism

They theory of utilitarianism is to maximize the good of a situation. If the outcome is good, and it brings happiness and pleasure, then the utilitarians would be satisfied. This was definitely not the case in this controversy as many people were outraged by Starbucks decision to create the cups. Even though Starbucks came out with an apology 3 days later, it was too late. The video that 15 million people had seen had already made a huge impact on peoples perceptions on the company. I don't believe that many people will boycott Starbucks forever because of this holiday cup mishap but I think many boycotted during the 2015 red cup season. Many christians and other people of various religions felt that Starbucks was taking away Christmas from them and genuinely felt personally attacked. The man in the video that received millions of views and likes was highly offended. He was so offended that he started a small movement of people saying "Merry Christmas", when asked their names so the baristas were forced to write it on their cups. The outcome was not good because people were offended, and even if they weren't offended, it still lacked holiday spirit in the cups that many people look forward to every year. Spreading holiday cheer through cups was one of Starbucks best ideas, but in 2015, they did not satisfy the consumers. Although Starbucks tried to make good come out of the situation, they did not succeed and there for did not act by the utilitarian theory very well. The Utilitarians would view Starbucks as being very unethical.

Image result for starbucks red cup controversy video

Kantianism

The Kantian theory involves respecting others and acting rationally. I think that Starbucks did not intend on disrespecting others but the outcome of taking away the Christmas themed cups that had been issued year after year did not respect people who celebrate Christmas. Many people also spoke about not feeling respected when they encouraged their employees to not use phrases like Merry Christmas when speaking to customers and to create an inclusive environment. Some also took it another step and preached that it was a disrespect to Christ for taking his life for us and not celebrating his life in return. This controversy is hard and unlike many in that religion is playing a main role. It is hard to respect all religions without offending one. While Starbucks tries to encourage employees to treat all equally and not say Merry Christmas to customers to try and respect people who don't celebrate the holiday, they ended up disrespecting some Christians who found it very offensive. Not only with not saying Merry Christmas but more importantly the cups. Their intention was to make a cup that all religions could express their stories and holiday traditions on whether it be hanukah, kwanzaa, or Christmas, but they quickly offended the christians by breaking their tradition. The previous cups were pretty mainstream and not hard core christian themed with crosses or anything pertaining Jesus, but things like ornaments that someone would put on a christmas tree, or reindeer that santa would deliver his presents with.  People of the jewish faith could say they are offended that there is ornaments on the cups instead of a menorah. I think that Starbucks also didn't act rationally because they waited way to long to even apologize to those offended and explain their intentions for the cup. It wasn't clear before they came out with their statement on why the plain red cup was chosen and why they got rid of the Christmas themed cups. I think if I were a CEO of Starbucks and had to act during the controversy I would've chosen to discontinue the red cups for the holiday season and go back to the regular cups so people would stop feeling offended and disrespected. The Kants would deem Starbucks as being unethical. 

Virtue Theory 

Comprised of courage, honesty, temperance, and justice the virtue theory addresses the big picture. I think that Starbucks did a good job with the courage aspect as they did take a risk in taking a different direction with their holiday cup and trying a new approach. It obviously failed and wasn't a good outcome, but they did have courage doing it. They also had the courage to release e a statement addressing the situation which could've back fired. Having courage is really important in companies because if you never take risks, how are you going to progress. Although taking the risk caused a lot of negative publicity, without that risk and courage they wouldn't have increased sales so much and had on elf the most successful holiday seasons ever. I think that they were honest with their employees and customers and did make an apology to those customers. They weren't sneaky about anything during the whole controversy. They released the cup in hopes of people creating their own stories on them and when that backfired and people took them for being anti christian and Christmas  they were honest about their true intentions of the plain cup. If companies are known for being sneaky conniving liars, many consumers would likely not continue giving business so it is important that Starbucks was so honest during a time of such chaos. The temperance was having a desire for customers to be able to draw on their own  cups and draw their own holiday stories but it failed when it came off as lacking christmas spirit. They wanted them to be able to express their own feelings about the holiday and be inclusive of all religions. Though that was quickly taken offensively by the christians, the intention was ethical. The justice in having quality products and good ideas was lacking in this cup. Obviously Starbucks has good products and ideas or it wouldn't be one of the leading coffee company's in the world, but with this product it wasn't the best idea they've had. In years past and the idea in general, Starbucks certainly outdid themselves with the idea to start this tradition in the first place. Having a holiday themed cup to get people in the spirit and spreading holiday joy was a brilliant idea. In the year 2015 the cup lacked creativity in itself and didn't satisfy the peoples expectations. The virtue theory would view Starbucks as being not completely unethical but not quite ethical. 


References

Gasca, P. (2015, November 16). 3 Lessons from Starbucks Red Cup Controversy. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252836

Green, E. (2015, November 10). The Inanity of the Starbucks Christmas Cup Controversy. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/11/starbucks-coffee-cups-war-on-christmas/415029/

Moyer, J. W. (2015, November 09). Starbucks ‘removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,’ Christian says in viral Facebook video. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/11/09/starbucks-removed-christmas-from-their-cups-because-they-hate-jesus-christian-says-in-viral-facebook-video/?utm_term=.89918c42fcac

Taylor, K. (2016, October 28). A Starbucks employee revealed what looks like this years red holiday cups. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/starbucks-red-holiday-cup-leaks-2016-10

What Starbucks' Red Cup Controversy Says About American Consumers. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2017, from http://fortune.com/2015/11/14/starbucks-red-cup-controversy-american-consumers/

United Airlines Forcibly Drags Man off Plane (2017)

Controversy 

United Airlines
            United Airline, Inc. is one of the world’s largest airlines providing customers with domestic and international flights all around the world. In the past, the company has made quite a lengthy list of horrible headlines but the most recent incident that left United under scrutiny was in April of 2017, when a man was dragged off an overbooked flight, beaten up and bloody. Dr. Dao, a passenger, boarded his flight and was seated when the flight announced that it was overbooked and asked passengers to volunteer to give up their seats for some of the four extra crew members that needed to board that flight. When no one volunteered, they randomly selected Dr. Dao and his wife as some of the passengers that were going to be removed off the flight. Removing passengers from flights due to overbooking is legal in the United States but the problem was how they removed the man off the flight and handled the situation after the news made headlines.
When Dr. Dao refused to get off the flight when crew members asked him and his wife to give up their seats, security enforcement was called in to try to remove him and that’s when things went south. After he still refused to get off the flight, saying he was a doctor and had to make the flight back home to get to work the next day, the security officers forcibly dragged him off the plane. Video footage taken by other passengers showed the horrific incident resulting in Dr. Dao losing his two front teeth, getting a concussion, a broken nose, and other injuries. The footage taken of him being dragged off the plane went viral, sparking outraged complaints from thousands of people. To only make things worse, the CEO of United, Oscar Munoz, released a statement about the altercation that was insensitive and didn’t offer a much sincere apology to Dr. Dao or anyone about how the employees handled the situation. He later then sent out an email defending and praising the employees for how they handled the situation, calling Dr. Dao “disruptive and belligerent”. (Shen)

Stakeholders

United's stock activity after Dr. Dao's incident went viral.
There were many stakeholders affected by how United Airlines handled the entire situation. First off, shareholders were affected when the news of the story went viral. People boycotted United and it brought so much bad press that United lost $1.4 billion in shares the day after the video was posted and went viral. That didn’t last long though since United’s share surprisingly slightly increased in the following month since investors decided to join in and buy the extra stock because they were expecting United to do better as a company after the incident. The shareholders that left United were affected because they not only were upset with the treatment towards customers but
many didn’t think the company would do well with these reoccurring negative headlines they were receiving. Consumers who previously flew, were going to fly, or wanted to fly with United were outraged and disappointed with the airline. The airline was mercilessly mocked on social media. It brought fear to people who booked flights, fearing a similar situation could happen to them. United employees were also affected. Passengers on the flight called out and harassed the flight crew that had taken the seats of the removed passengers blaming them for what had happened. Though what happened wasn’t their fault, it still affected them because they had to board an awkward and tense flight. Everyone on the flight that witnessed the violent incident were also affected. Kids were crying and people were traumatized. Dr. Dao was another but certainly the most important stakeholder affected by this incident. He was disrespected by the airlines employees including the CEO. He was violently removed from the flight, physically harmed, humiliated, and fears he can no longer do his job as a doctor due to the brain damage caused by the physical abuse. Dr. Dao said that since that day, no one from the United company had tried to communicate with him and offer any apology to him. His lawyer was the only one who spoke to anyone from the company. The CEO, Oscar Munoz was also affected by the story. This brought an incredible amount of bad publicity to him and his company. The PR team took a hard hit and had to work and find a way to help bring a positive image back to United. They did make a few changes on their policies and how they would handle overbooked flights. Dr. Dao agreed to an undisclosed settlement with United Airlines

Individualism

As defined in the in-progress book, The Case Manual by Professor Heather Salazar, Individualism states that “Business actions should maximize profits for owners of a business, but do so within the law.” (Salazar, Pg. 17) An individualist may view this case and say United should’ve done the complete opposite of what was done in order to maximize profits for the business. An individualist would say that the security enforcement should’ve escorted the man without forcefully dragging him off the flight. A more calm and respectful approach should’ve been used to get him to get off the plane. If he was still dragged off the flight, CEO Oscar Munoz still could’ve avoided a total PR nightmare by releasing a very sincere apology to Dr. Dao, his wife, and to everyone else involved in that situation. He should’ve also contacted Dr. Dao himself to apologize and figure out what happened and find a way to make right of what had happened. This could have helped United not further destroy their reputation and help keep their shares from dropping and losing potential profits for the company since the point of individualism is to help maximize profits.

Utilitarianism

Dr. Dao being dragged off his flight by airport security. 
Utilitarian’s would have a slightly different approach to this case study. As defined in The Case Manual, utilitarianism follows the rule that "Business actions should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run for all conscious beings that are affected by the business action." (Salazar, Pg. 17) In order for everyone on the flight to be happy, including Dr. Dao and the four extra crew members, United wouldn't kick anyone off the flight. For that to happen, the airline would make sure in advance that they didn't overbook the flight in case extra passengers had to be boarded. If nobody had to be kicked off the flight then Dr. Dao would remain on the plane and make it to his destination. The entire incident would be completely avoided, not causing the company to lose any shares. This would keep United, their employees, and their customers happy which is the main goal of Utilitarianism. 

Kantianism

The Case Manual describes Kantianism’s ethical rules as "Always act in ways that respect and honor individuals and their choices. Don't lie, cheat, or manipulate or harm others to get your way. Rather, use informed and rational consent from all parties." (Salazar, Pg. 17) A Kantian would say that United violated almost every rule in that definition and didn’t follow the formula of humanity. First off, the company did not honor or respect Dr. Dao's choice to stay on the flight. The security officers harmed Dr. Dao to get their way which was an open seat for the extra flight crew. They didn't use Dr. Dao's rational consent to get him off the plane. What a Kantian could recommend that the security could've done is talk to Dr. Dao with respect. They should've asked him why he didn't want to get off the flight and offer to find him an alternate solution to get back home in time for his next day of work. They could've explained that with the $800 voucher they offered him if he had got off that flight, he could've went and tried to book a flight from a different airline to get to his destination. They also could've offered him more money on the voucher or randomly select another passenger to ask to depart the flight. 

Virtue Theory

Photo of Dr. Dao's injuries taken by another passenger.
As described in The Case Manual, Virtue Theory follows the rule "Act so as to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits." (Salazar, Pg. 17) For this specific situation, the aggressive security enforcement would have had to been much nicer to the doctor. They would have adapted the traits of respectfulness, kindness, understanding, helpfulness, calmness, and sympathy. If the security team calmly approached the man and talked to him as a person, listened to his concerns, and helped to find a solution to his concern, then the forceful dragging could've been avoided, similarity like I mentioned a Kantian would suggest. The CEO of United could've also stopped a lot of the extra bad reputation by having those same traits and sending Dr. Dao a great apology for what had happened to him. Oscar Munoz would've also avoided sending out the email bashing Dr. Dao and praising his employee’s actions for how they handled the situation. If all the company employees involved were more sincere and empathetic, then maybe Dr. Dao would understand why he needed to depart the plane and comply with the airline.


Works Cited

Disparte, Dante. “United Airlines and Reputation Risk.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 Apr. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/united-airlines-and-reputation-risk_us_58eda924e4b0ea028d568e26.
McCarthy, Sky. “United Passenger Dragged off Flight Settles with Airline for Undisclosed Amount.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 27 Apr. 2017, www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/04/27/dragged-united-passenger-settles-with-airline-for-undisclosed-amount.html.
Reklaitis, Victor. “United's Stock Falls 1.1%, Wipes out $255 Million off the Airline's Market Cap.” MarketWatch, 12 Apr. 2017, www.marketwatch.com/story/uniteds-stock-is-set-to-fall-5-and-wipe-1-billion-off-the-airlines-market-cap-2017-04-11.
Shen, Lucinda. “United Airlines Stock Drops $1.4 Billion After Passenger-Removal Controversy.” United Airlines: Stock Drops Following Passenger Incident in Chicago | Fortune.com, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2017, fortune.com/2017/04/11/united-airlines-stock-drop/.
Shen, Lucinda. “United Airlines' Stock Has Recovered After a Doctor Was Dragged Off a Plane.” Fortune, 12 Apr. 2017, fortune.com/2017/04/12/united-airlines-stock/.
Zdanowicz, Christina, and Emanuella Grinberg. “Passenger Dragged off Overbooked United Flight.” CNN, Cable News Network, 11 Apr. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/04/10/travel/passenger-removed-united-flight-trnd/index.html.

YouTube Advertisement Controversy

Phillip DeFranco, one of the first to draw attention to the
inconsistencies in YouTube's advertisement policies

Controversy:  Throughout much of 2017, YouTube, the popular video sharing and viewing website, has been embroiled in two controversies, with one major theme: their advertising policies.  The smaller of the issues came to light after the tragic Las Vegas shooting.  Many creators on YouTube sought to provide information about the horrible tragedy that befell our country, and planned to donate the money they would make off of the videos to the families and victims of the shooting.   It was in this rush of videos about the shooting that people began to catch on to a very bizarre and unethical business practice of YouTube.  Casey Neistat and Phillip DeFranco,  both very popular YouTubers noticed that their videos were demonetized, and that they would not be able to raise money for charity that way.   YouTube claimed that they had a policy of demonetizing all videos regarding tragedies.  While this sounds like a reasonable practice of YouTube, it simply isn't true.  Certain "whitelisted" or "priority" channels, such as Jimmy Kimmel, were able to post their videos about the horrific shooting, and were able to play ads before, during, or after their videos, all while YouTube claimed the very opposite.  On October 10th, YouTube said they were going to review their policies regarding advertisements, though much damage had already been done, due largely to another huge controversy regarding their advertisement policies.


Many have called it the YouTube adpocalypse, a portmanteau of advertisement and apocalypse.  This controversy is what led to the policies allowing YouTube to demonetize any video that was deemed "controversial".  With no explanation what this meant, hundreds of content creators on YouTube found that videos they had made were suddenly not playing advertisements, where they previously would have been able to.  YouTube had instated a policy which allowed companies to pull advertisements off of videos that were flagged for being controversial.  Again, this seems like a noble goal of YouTube, protect the companies that are placing ads on their site, so they cannot be linked to any controversy.  The underlying issue is the system was deeply flawed, in a way in which many could never have expected.  Thousands upon thousands of videos were flagged and demonetized, many of which had no grounds for being flagged.  But the largest issue arose when multimillion dollar companies found out about where their advertisements were being played.  As a result of their new policies, YouTube allowed the data regarding advertisements and their revenues to be made public.  Ads from companies such as PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, and Volkswagen, all found that their ads were playing before horrible, hateful videos, and as a result, financing those who were creating these videos.  Companies completely severed ties with YouTube, resulting in an estimated $750 million in lost revenue off of the advertisements for YouTube.

Companies fled YouTube after realizing their ads played before
controversial and offensive videos.


Shareholders:  One of the key stakeholders affected by this were the channels not whitelisted by YouTube, who's videos were demonetized, taking away money that the creators themselves were raising for the victims of the shooting, or money that had at other times been their only way of supporting themselves, as YouTube is a full-time job for many individuals. YouTube viewers are also affected by this, because they, as well as the content creators, were lied to by YouTube. YouTube itself is now backtracking and trying to fix its policies before more damage is done to their reputation, but with a history of concerns in its past, damage has been done to their credibility, seeming only to fix their policies when there is massive public outrage.  Another group who is largely damaged by the results of this ongoing controversy are the large companies who have now removed themselves from YouTube, costing YouTube an estimated $750 million.

Individualism:  In our text, Individualism is defined as "business actions should maximize profits for the owners of a business, but do so within the law" (Salazar, 17). This stance on ethics would likely not see much wrong with the practices of YouTube, as they are maximizing their profits by keeping their higher tier content creators happy. Lying is not directly illegal, though they were intentionally providing false information to people who make their living on YouTube. Though many others would see this lying as unethical, because it does not violate any laws, this would likely stand up under Individualist ideals.  The large issue with Individualism in this scenario comes about when we realize how much YouTube lost in advertisement revenue when losing some of their most valuable partners.  This is likely where Individualist thinking would deem this wrong, as it harms people, and does not maximize the gains of the company, rather costing them nearly one billion dollars. 

Chart showing the estimated impact of the YouTube advertisement boycott on
YouTube, as well as Google, its parent company
Utilitarianism:  The text defines Utilitarianism as "business actions should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run for all conscious beings that are affected by the business action" (Salazar, 17). This is absolutely not done by YouTube, not only harming the creators of the videos who were trying to raise funds for families affected by the shooting in Las Vegas, but the families and victims themselves, who will not be receiving as much aid for injuries and the death of their family members.  The creators are doubly harmed, in that they may be unable to generate profits off their channels, which for many people, is a full time job.  The companies who's ads were played before offensive, hateful, or controversial videos are also harmed, as they may have been linked to a hate group that they have absolutely no connection to.  The egregious lying of YouTube to everybody harmed many people, clearly not trying to maximize their happiness, and does not fall in line with the views of Utilitarianism.  

Kantianism:  Kantianism is defined in the text as "Always act in ways that respect and honor individuals and their choices. Don't lie, cheat, manipulate, or harm others to get your way. Rather, use informed and rational consent from all parties" (Salazar, 17). YouTube not allowing funds to be raised by advertisements from the majority of creators does not directly contradict the beliefs of Kantianism, but the lying about not placing advertisements on tragedies certainly does. They did lie to content creators and viewers, not only not making the creators any money from these videos, but YouTube itself still profits. YouTube also manipulated and hid information from companies like Starbucks and Volkswagen, who's ads were played before videos that were controversial in content, without knowing they would be indirectly financing these videos and their creators.  This manipulation and lying clearly does not follow the viewpoints of Kantianism.

Virtue Theory:   Virtue theory, as defined in our text, aims to "Act so as to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits." (Salazar, 17).  YouTube allowing certain creators who made deals with them to profit on videos about tragedies, while disallowing nearly all other channels to raise money, and then lying about it, is clearly not displaying good or virtuous character traits. Though the whitelisted channels themselves did nothing wrong, they played a part in YouTube's duplicity, even if their goal was the same as the many creators who's videos were demonetized. The hiding of information from companies, such as PepsiCo and Walmart, who had allowed YouTube to play their advertisements, and allowing them to be placed before videos that contained hateful or offensive content, is blatantly against the ethical values of Virtue Theory.  Those who follow the ethical field of virtue theory would not likely see the actions of YouTube as ethical.

References: 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/08/23/youtube-controversy-doesn-pay/9mXKWJMWMUhnkoJmUoq9DP/story.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-hardly-seems-bothered-by-the-youtube-advertiser-boycott-2017-7

https://www.inc.com/associated-press/youtube-ad-boycott-google-alphabet-biggest-headache.html

https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/24/15053990/google-youtube-advertising-boycott-hate-speech

https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/10/16453306/youtube-monetization-ads-casey-neistat-philip-defranco

http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/350605-youtube-called-out-by-community-h3h3productions-for-valuing-celebrities-over-creators

https://gizmodo.com/youtube-videos-about-las-vegas-massacre-blocked-from-ma-1819219891





Fiat-Chrysler Emissions Fails (2017)

Controversy
The United States Government sued Fiat Chrysler (FCA) accusing them of using software to pass emissions tests.The government accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of using an illegal engine- control software that enabled its diesel-powered vehicles to pass the emissions tests. This filing happened days after Fiat Chrysler proposed a modification to the software to ensure correct test results hoping that it would resolve the issue. “The government alleged that FCA put eight “software based features” on diesel engines in nearly 104,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014 to 2016 model years.”


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for verifying the automobile manufactures comply with anti-pollution laws they have set forth. Responses from Cynthia Giles from the EPA was “failing to disclose software that affects emissions in a vehicle’s engine is a serious violation of the law which can result in harmful pollution in the air we breath.” Some documented responses by FCA were “FCA US is very disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a violation with respect to the emissions control technology…..”. ..”FCA US believes that its emission controls meet the applicable requirements..”...”FCA looks forward to meeting with the EPA’s enforcement division….to resolve this matter…”. This also happened with Volkswagen and they ended up guilty to criminal charges in a scandal that cost Volkswagen $20 billion in U.S. alone.
Stakeholders
A stakeholder is a person with an interest in something, especially in business.The stakeholders in this case would be people that own Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the FCA employees, car dealers, shareholders, the public, other auto manufacturers and Fiat Chrysler board members and executives. These allegations affected their company value and net worth.
The FIAT Chrysler emission violation allowed harmful diesel exhaust to be emitted into the environment potentially harming the unaware public. Due to this violation many people have lost their jobs and FCA’s market value dropped drastically as a result. The impact affects FCA’s customers, employees, car dealerships, company shareholders, fellow automobile manufactures and FCA board members and executives.When companies mislead their customers it is a uphill battle for them to regain the consumers trust. The stakeholders are the key people that have the most vested interest.





Cheating Causes Company's Value to Tank

steep drop.png





















This graph shows FCA stock price drop following the cheating allegation.


Individualism
Individualism is a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control. FCA’s goal was to maximize profit for their investors at anyone else's expense.  The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles scandal is unethical under the individualism theory. FAC cheated by using the software that changes the test results in the laboratory to allow sales of diesel vehicles in the U.S. The software was making the results look better than they actually were by reducing the emissions output.  Environment Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards that companies have to apply to and  FAC totally ignored these requirements and were solely focused only on company profits.
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful and benefit the majority with actions that produce the most good. The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles scandal is unethical under the Utilitarianism Theory because a lot of people weren’t happy with the outcome. As a result of FCA cheating scandal many innocent people were negatively financially affected. This scandal was no good and no one benefited from Fiat Chrysler’s actions. FCA had to recall cars once they received approval that their software was certified. It’s likely many people lost their jobs due to the fact Fiat had to pay millions of dollars to recall automobiles. Hopefully the only good that could come out of this scandal would be for Fiat to learn from so it would never happen in the future.


Would You Want to Breathe This?


dodge exhaust.jpg

This could have been the result of Fiat’s emissions cheating if the EPA had not investigated the emissions software.

Kantianism
Kantianism definition is certain types of actions are prohibited, even in cases where the actions would bring about more happiness than the alternative action.The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Scandal is unethical under the Kantianism Theory because the outcome of the scandal made all parties involved very un happy and frustrated . As a result of FCA not being honest to their customers it’s possible that they will lose the customers trust and struggle to gain it back in the future. Due to this scandal not being as large as the Volkswagen crisis and the number of diesel engine customers being relatively low in the U.S., FCA may have a better chance regaining customers trust after the software is corrected. The CEO Sergio Marchionne said “we have done nothing Illegal the reports are blown out of proportion.”
Virtue Theory
Virtue Ethics emphasizes an individual’s character as the key element of ethical thinking rather than rules about the acts themselves or their consequences. The four main virtues of character include courage, honesty, self control and fairness. FCA did not display courageousness because the company knowingly supplied faulty software. They also failed to show they were honest by intentionally lying to not only their customers but their employees. The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles scandal is unethical under the Virtue Theory because their ethical thinking was to cheat the emissions test and they ended up breaking the rules and are now dealing with the consequences. If they came forward, this thing could have been smaller than it ended up being. If FCA displayed self-control to do the right thing and not adjusts their software, they wouldn’t have cost the company so much irreversible damage.



Another Emission Scandal


breaking news.jpg



Fiat has followed other automobile manufactures in trying to cheat emissions.



References