This Week in PR Ethics (2/3/22) – Racism, Spotify, Banned Books and the Metaverse

It feels really great to be doing these again, and as always, there is no lack of relevant content.

  • Racism in the NFL – The Brian Flores story is sending an ethics shockwave through the NFL. Are Black coaches getting a fair shake? Just how unethical is it if teams are incenting their coaches to lose.  We spent 40 minutes discussing this is class.  While these issues are pretty black and white, there are some fun permutations to consider.
    • How is this different from when the fix is in in the agency review process? (hint, that isn’t about race)
    • Where do your loyalties lay when it comes to team, players, league?
  • The ethics of Spotify – There are so many ethics facets to this situation. What responsibility do platforms have for their content? Does a platform pose the same vulnerability for performers as supply chains do for business? PR Week had a great article showing how other platforms are capitalizing on the issue. Is restricting speech the answer, and if so where do we draw the line.  My class had a blast discussing it this week.
  • Is restricting ideas the answer? – From the Spotify situation, it is just a hop skip and a jump over to the NY Times story on the renewed effort to ban books in the US. If Spotify is right, and their decision is celebrated by those looking to restrict books, how do they reconcile the dissonance?
  • The metaverse – I admit, I am fascinated by the potential of the metaverse. But it is going to present the same ethics challenges we have faced for millennia. It is interesting to see how mainstream brands, such as H&M are getting involved and how consumers will interact.
  • Fast fashion ethics – I liked this article that highlighted an ethics capstone project of a team of Bradley University students that looks at the ethical issues with fast fashion. This to me extends to Apple’s planned obsolescence strategy as well as the environmental issues they highlight.
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
Follow Me
Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *