The Controversy Over Quarantine

On Friday, Oct. 24, Kaci Hickox returned to the United States after working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone as part of a Doctors Without Borders mission. Upon her arrival at the Newark Liberty International Airport, Hickox was detained and placed in quarantine against her wishes. Because of a recent order from New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, all health care workers returning from West Africa are to be quarantined for 21 days. Hickox was outraged when she was sent to University Hospital where she stayed in an isolated medical tent. Hickox’s displeasure was publicized by her selfies, television interviews, and an essay to a morning news station. Almost immediately, activists, aid workers, and elected officials stepped in saying that this was a prime example of the government overstepping their bounds.

After approximately 2 days of quarantine and a negative blood test, Hickox was released from the hospital and allowed to travel to her home in Maine, where she will continue with a self-quarantine. The situation has left the nation divided. Defenders of the quarantine, like Gov. Chris Christie, say that such action is necessary in order to best serve and protect the community at large. The longest known incubation period for the Ebola virus is 21 days, hence the 21 day quarantine. Hickox was released after 2 days, there is no way of knowing if she will develop symptoms and the virus in a few days. Chris Christie stands by his decision to quarantine medical workers, but others say that he is abusing his governmental power. The situation escalated to such a point that the White House commented on it. White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest commented on Hickox’s service by saying that it was “deserving of praise and respect. And having her sit in a tent for two or three days doesn’t exactly do that.” Others also suggest that if medical professionals are required to spend 3 weeks in quarantine upon their return to the U.S., they will be deterred from donating their service to areas that are in desperate need of help.

Personally, I think that medical workers should be quarantined. As it is now, there is a lot of fear surrounding the Ebola virus. Much of that is rooted in the fact that most people don’t fully understand the disease, and until those fears subside, I think it’s important to quarantine medical professionals in some capacity. At the same time, however, I understand that a quarantine is likely to deter professionals from traveling to West Africa, which is unfortunate. I think that state governments need to work with the CDC to solidify a plan of action and quarantine procedures.

What do you think? Should states be able to issue mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa? Is it ethical? As we learned in chapter four of our text, the social contract theory basically states that governments are obligated to and responsible for the citizens. Gov. Chris Christie says that by issuing an obligatory quarantine for Kaci Hickox and other workers, he was doing what was best for the state of New Jersey, and others agree with his sentiments. Hickox has now been released, if she should contract the virus, how will people and government officials react? It would be an outrage. Christie would also come under fire again, for allowing her release even though he was against it from the start. Others say that Christie is abusing his power with these orders. So, was Christie out of line?


Since Aug. 2012, the show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” has been one of the most viewed and ridiculed shows on TLC. But as of Oct. 24, 2014, the reality series featuring Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and her family will stop production and the show will be cancelled immediately. The show is being cancelled after Alana’s mom, June “Mama June” Shannon was allegedly meeting up with her ex and convicted sex offender, 53-year-old Mark McDaniel. McDaniel was convicted of child molestation in May 2004 after molesting Shannon’s 8-year-old daughter. McDaniel served 10 years in prison and was released in Sept. 2014.
Shannon posted a video on Fri. Oct. 23 and denied allegations of meeting up with McDaniel, “I have not seen that person in 10 years” said Shannon. Although Shannon denies meeting up with McDaniel, on Fri. Oct. 23, TLC issued a statement, “TLC has cancelled the series HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO and ended all activities around the series, effective immediately. Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being.”
There have been multiple cases in which a reality series has been in jeopardy because of decisions made by a cast member. For example, A&E decided to suspend the main character, Phil Robertson from the series “Duck Dynasty” after Robertson revealed his homophobic point on view in an interview with GQ. When ratings for “Duck Dynasty” dropped after Robertson was suspended, A&E decided to lift Robertson’s ban.
If you were working for TLC, how would you suggest they handle the Honey Boo Boo situation? Do you think that TLC made the most ethical decision by canceling the show immediately after hearing the allegations? Why or why not? Do you think A&E should was ethical in their decision to suspend and then lift Robertson’s ban from the show? Or should they have cancelled the show as well? Which of Ross’s Moral Duties did TLC uphold their obligations to by canceling “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”?

Check out Shannon’s video that denies her relationship with McDaniel here.

Liquor Store Delivery Service


Big Red Liquors, located in Indianapolis, recently launched a new app to allow customers to order their alcohol through the app and have it delivered to their front doors. According to Bryan Goodwin, VP of sales for Drizly, the creator of the app, the app also enables the delivery person to verify that the person is 21 by scanning the license by using a forensic ID verification technology in the app. It also verifies that the license is not expired.

“We believe this is a segment of business folks will be interested in investigating, that it will provide consumer convenience and do so responsibly” Matt Bell, a spokesperson for Big Red Liquors, said.

This app launched 2:00 on Thursday and has already been a hit. Brandon Thomas, a local police officer stated that “it’s perfectly legal.” He also added that Big Red Liquors is one of the strictest liquor stores in the area, maybe even the state.

What are some of the ethical implications that may occur down the road from using this app? It is very convenient, but there can be consequences that come with it. As a PR professional, would you stand by the use of this app? How would you advertise this app without breaking any of the many principles and values that are noted in our book?

View the video and read the full article here>


Sexist Dick’s Sporting Goods 2014 Basketball Catalog



Dick’s Sporting Goods recently released it’s 2014 basketball catalog, but there was something missing: women. The only women included in the catalog were those in the stands cheering, cheerleaders and a few in the shoes section. This “mistake” did not go unnoticed. McKenna Peterson a 12-year-old basketball player and daughter of Chris Peterson, a sports producer for NBC12 in Phoenix, Arizona, noticed it right away when she received the catalog in the mail. She decided to write Dick’s a letter voicing her opinion that they should have included more female athletes in the catalog. Below is an image of the letter she wrote that her father later posted on Twitter.


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In her letter she states that she will take her business somewhere else if Dick’s chooses to not “support girls who PLAY sports and follow their dreams and not sit on the sidelines and watch the game.” Shortly after McKenna sent in her letter she received an automated email with the usual that you for your expressing your concerns and who to contact if you have anymore questions (left). Mr. Peterson also posted this to his Twitter page. This was not he response the Peterson’s were looking for and McKenna was not satisfied. A Dick’s representative later contacted her by phone to let her know that for future publications they will consider putting more women in the catalog and that they really appreciated her letter. She then received yet another letter, but this one was from CEO Ed Stack and it was posted on Dick’s Twitter page (right). Stack then explains that he will be in Arizona in the future and wants to meet with the family and formally apologize in person.


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Dick’s has a wide variety of equipment and apparel covering just about every sport imaginable, men’s women’s and children’s. Knowing that every sport comes with different genders, we have to consider both sides. Some sports are more male dominated than female, but the females cannot be completely overlooked. The PR professionals and others who took part in making the catalog weren’t being fair to their customers by creating this one-sided catalog. Women are frequently seen as being more passive and submissive, but that isn’t true in the athletic realm.

Would you have handled the situation any differently? Would you change the wording of any of the letters sent from Dick’s? This probably won’t be the only complaint about the catalog, so what should the company do to address this situation?

You can read the full article and view a video on the story here>

Ebola Turns Racial


Ebloa is a human tragedy which is becoming more of an issue, not only to the health of our society, but it is now causing racial problems. Reports state the children of African immigrants in Dallas are now being labeled as “Ebola kids” because their of heritage or skin color.

In the United State and Europe, Ebola is creating racial profiling when there is already enough to worry about. A Newsweek cover last month (shown below) features a picture of a chimpanzee with the headline “A Back Door for Ebola: Smuggled Bushmeat Could Spark A U.S. Epidemic.”


For those of you who do not know what bushmeat is, it’s wild animal meat, which often refers to chimpanzees, gorillas and other monkeys that are killed so they can be eaten. Previous outbreaks of Ebola have been credited to the bushmeat trade. The intent of the cover of this magazine is apparent, but the photo chosen was a mistake when taking into consideration the racial implications that have surfaced recently.

Research done by the Washington Post revealed that the Ebola outbreak “likely had nothing to do with bushmeat consumption,” the Post reported, and there is no conclusive evidence that Ebola has been passed from animals to humans. “There is virtually no chance that ‘bushmeat’ smuggling could bring Ebola to America,” the Post concluded.

“It’s easy for the world — the powerful world, who are largely non-African, non-people of color — to ignore the suffering of poor, black people,” Harvard Medical School professor Joia Mukherjee said on PRI’s “The World” last month. It’s easy, she said, to “other-ize” the Ebola crisis.

It’s not a new idea that Ebola is easily linked to African Americans, so that gave Newsweek no excuse to make this their cover. It created more problems for the situation linking Ebola to race. As PR professionals, we need to evaluate the consequences of our actions and who you can hurt with these actions. This is a deadly disease, and certain demographics of people should not be targeted or spotlighted because of their ethnicity.

If you were working for Newsweek, what would you have done differently? What photo would have been appropriate with the same headline? Would you have changed everything altogether? Is it right to label these children because of where their parents come from? Whenever we make decisions, especially with topics such as this, we need to ask ourselves a variety of questions to make sure we are making the best and most ethical decisions we possibly can. Are we helping others to free them from harm or are we causing more harm?

Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to a statement from the Ebola victim’s nephew, who questions the treatment Duncan received. View the video Here> and the full article by CNN.


Never Too Old For Facebook

Can you imagine growing up through the ages of technology? Anna Stoehr was born and raised in a house with no phone, computer, or even electricity. As she grew older, and technology advanced, she found herself becoming curious about the many new devices being developed. At almost 114 years old and living in a retirement community, Anna continues to make friends through technology and social media.

It all started when Anna’s son, who is in his 80’s, bought a smartphone at Verizon Wireless. He was talking about his mom to the employee about how amazed she would be with today’s technology. The employee was interested in meeting Anna, and set her up with a tablet that included FaceTime communication. He says that she really enjoys the technology and enjoys FaceTime calls from friends around the world. Anna then went to join Facebook, and the website wouldn’t allow her to join with her accurate age. To make a profile she had to lie about how old she was. This is because the date she entered as her birthday was considered to be too far back. Anna then decided to write a letter to Facebook explaining her concern, and how Facebook would not let her enter her appropriate age to join.

Being that Facebook is a company that aims to appeal to a large audience; they do not want to make users feel left out. An age limitation is a risky aspect for the social media website. It is important that there is a limitation so children are restricted, and they also don’t want people lying outrageously about their age. This is understandable but doing this could also make people, such as Anna, feel left out. Do you think it breaks any values to have an age restriction on a social website? If you were making a potter box to solve this dilemma for Facebook, after receiving Anna’s letter, what options could you come up with? Would you make a change, or leave it the same because a case like Anna’s is a rarity? As a PR professional, who and what would you need to consider when making a final decision?

Video of Anna’s Story:

One Too Many: Toyota Continues to Recall Vehicles

You hear in the news from time to time about recalls from automobile companies. But lately, one company seems to be heard of a little more often. This is because Toyota has issued three new recalls that have covered more than 1.75 million vehicles. These new announcements will extensively add to Toyota’s whole recall number for the year. The company has already issued recalls previously over software issues and nonworking airbags. In fact, earlier this year, Toyota approved to pay a $1.2 billion fine. It was to settle a situation from four years ago that involved their behavior during an unintended acceleration recall of more than 10 million cars. This fine is the largest of its kind. Since this, there are three more reasons for the recalls of Toyota vehicles of different models.

The vehicles sold in Japan, were the largest of the three recalls. The company stated in an email that this was issued to fix a problem in the brake systems of certain Crown Majesta, Noah, and Voxy models. Toyota felt that in some cases, the brake performance could begin to gradually degrade if the problem is not fixed. The automaker is also looking for a fix to an issue with fuel delivery pipes that could increase the risk of a vehicle fire. This second recall consists of 759,000 vehicles that includes 423,000 of the Lexus models. These are mostly sold in the United States and were made between the years of 2005 and 2010. The third recall is restricted to 190,000 cars that are sold in Japan that could possibly develop fuel leaks. In all three cases, close to two-thirds of the cars were sold in Japan. Toyota stated it was not yet aware of any crashes, injuries, or fatalities in results of these issues.

With all of this said, imagine being a PR representative of Toyota. Do you think there is a way for the company to comeback from so much going wrong? What steps could you take to revamp the company, and gain a solid customer base back? Also, how could you get customers to stay with Toyota after having their vehicles recalled? Do you think this could be more difficult because it effects more than one country?


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