When I started gathering ethics stories for the week, I was sad because I thought it would be a quiet week. Ooh boy was I wrong. From deepfakes, to destruction and self-destruction (and I am not talking the Patriots), to politics and COP27 there is something for everyone.
- Celebrity Deepfakes and ads – The WSJ had an interesting article this week on the use of celebrities, such as Elon Musk, Tom Cruise, and Leonardo DiCaprio in ads without their consent thanks to deepfake technology. While it skirts legal boundaries based on historical contracts, it opens a host of ethics issues – what is fair use and when do we say no?
- The Self Destruction of Ye and the agony of affiliated brands – Ye and his recent statements and actions have been a hot topic in my ethics class the past few weeks. From the core issue, to is it unethical to capitalize on someone with mental health issues we looked at a lot. The new ethics question this week, is what took brands so long to take action?
- Climate Activism – Is damaging works of art effective and ethical? Is it a hoax? – Over the past few weeks, some climate activists have been throwing soup, mashed potatoes, etc., on historic paintings to draw awareness and media attention (Why are we more outraged over their actions rather than the lack of climate action). Is this ethical? My high school son pointed out that the conspiracy theory going around his school is this is an astroturfing false flag campaign by big oil to discredit climate activists. The Smithsonian Magazine reported on that.
- COP27 and greenwashing – From the pushback on Coke as the major corporate sponsor, to PRWeek reporting the Summit is using an agency that represents oil companies, there are lots of greenwashing angles to explore.
- Corporate strategy in a hyperpolitical world – HBR had an interesting read that discusses what should companies do when every action is hyper-scrutinized for ethics and through the lens of politics.
- When gifting becomes grifting – Finally, Ethisphere has a great webinar that explores the fine line between corporate gifts and grift.
- The Ethical Implications of Blurred Lines – Cheryll Forsatz - September 18, 2023
- This Week in RPR Ethics (9/14/23) – There is Something Rotten in….AI, Media Relations, and Government Overreach - September 14, 2023
- This Week in PR Ethics (9/7/23): AI Disinformation and the Evolution of Stakeholder Capitalism - September 7, 2023