It is unfortunately not uncommon to see people tweeting about getting rid of a particular race or gender on social media. It does cause a bit more of a stir when that person is the spokesperson for the public schools in Washington, D.C., Hilary Tone. In a heated response to word that former Texas governor Rick Perry would be picked as Energy Secretary, Tone dashed off a statement on Twitter that “If wanting to get rid of something qualifies you to run it, I want to be Secretary of White Men.” Not exactly what one expects from a spokesperson, but the D.C. schools have been remarkably quiet in response to the posting (which was later withdrawn) by its spokesperson.
It was clearly an attempt by Tone to be funny that was a colossal failure. However, we have previously discussed such “jokes” by judges and others. I would not want to see an employee fired over a joke. Indeed, I think that we need to loosen up considerably in disciplining public employees for their statements and conduct in private life. The only interest that I have in this story is the rule that applies to such cases in the future.
Before working for the DCPS, Tone worked for Media Matters, an organization created by the controversial David Brock — a vicious Clinton ally who has been denounced by Bernie Sanders as “scum” and even other Clinton supporters as “bat-shit crazy.”
We have previously discussed the concern over the unequal treatment of such comments. If a spokesperson had joked about the desire to get rid of all black males, would the response be the same?
We have previously discussed the concern that public employees are being punished for statements or images posted on social media. Of course, this is the spokesperson for the schools, but it was a statement made on her personal Twitter account, @HToneTastic.
It was a surprising lack of judgment for a spokesperson of a municipal agency that depends greatly on federal funding. To then reportedly add a racist and sexist element to that political statement is astonishing. She first referenced Perry’s past statement that he wanted to eliminate the Energy Department and then added “If wanting to get rid of something qualifies you to run it, I want to be Secretary of White Men.”
Fox reports that she later took down the tweet and sent out a statement “hey internet – upon reading my mentions, it occurs to me that my tweet about white men earlier today was in poor taste. My apologies.” One does not have to be a spokesperson ordinarily to require hindsight to see that it is remarkably dim to make political comments tinged with racist and sexist elements when you are the face of a major agency.
Yet, the DCPS sent out a fairly restrained statement:
“The social media posts were said on an employee’s personal social media accounts and do not reflect the views of DC Public Schools, which prides itself on being an inclusive organization regardless of race, ethnic background, religion, sex, language, family’s income level, or immigration status.”
I am highly sympathetic with the position of protecting free speech for public employees so long as there is one standard for all employees. Does that mean that the DCPS would take the same position on spokesperson’s joking about eradicating black males? What is the standard for such social media comments. It is not clear from the statement.
What do you think that standard should be?
112 thoughts on “Tone Deaf: Spokesperson Of DC Schools Jokes About Wanting To Eradicate All White Males”
She should have been fired immediately by DCPS. Consider the following from the perspective of if she were a White Male
“If wanting to get rid of something qualifies you to run it, I want to be Secretary of Black Men.”
Imagine the outrage from the media and citizens then.
These idiots are running our schools all over Western Civilization. It is why the kids today are so screwed up in the head. They need to be driven from our schools completely.
But this is exactly what one would expect from the hard Left. They often engage in racism, anti-Semitism (see BLM and BDS movements), misogyny, and all sorts of objectionable behavior against conservatives, or even their own if they stray from the party line. It’s quite militant. I’m still in shock at how social media blew up and good friends and family engaged in vicious diatribes against anyone who voted for Trump.
They’ve been enabled for many years, that it’s OK to say such things as long as it’s “for the greater good”. Strangely, I’ve even read racial slurs against black conservatives, while the speakers felt they had the higher moral ground. I recently saw a clip on the news where protestors physically threatened gay conservative Milo Yianopolis. Can you imagine the national backlash if that was a gay Liberal?
I think in this case, the standard needs to be exactly the same. If they would defend someone calling for the eradication of all black males, then they can look the other way on this one. If not, then they’d better apply that standard equally.
Julia Ioffe was already on her way to The Atlantic from Politico, so she didn’t care.
Just wondering, though. This whole tweeter thing seems to get a lot of people in hot water. It’s like people just blurting out whatever comes into their head without thinking even for a second. Pretty stupid, if you ask me.
It is stupid, and in her case an unforgivably unprofessional act. The kind of act that says “you suck.” Kind of like Bjorn Borg’s dead fish forehand volley.
Nothing wrong with her saying what she said. It exposed her bigotry. Glad to know where she stands. In a more perfect world, her statement could be used by those who hire her or pass over her for someone less prejudice against white men.
What happened to free speech, Johnathan Turley?
1. She’s a public employee.
2. She’s a public employee whose job is public relations.
Why, when you read the words “free speech,” do you wrongly think it means “guaranteed employment?” It does not.
“All women” . . . . Can you imagine the shrieking howls after that? In so doing she paints herself with her own broad brush. Is she blonde?
http://www.snopes.com/2016/12/15/politico-axes-julia-ioffe-over-tweet-about-ivanka-trump/ Think she should have been axed.
What people say or do on a social media site as a private individual may be cause for concern but that’s about it. I think the idiotic statement is deplorable, to coin a phrase, however it has zero to do with her job so it should not impact her job. People hold views that are obnoxious, racist, sexist, homophobic… you name it but as long as they aren’t expressing those views on the job in an official capacity or in a way that keeps them from performing their job then is it really anyone else’s business to judge their private thoughts and beliefs? I think not. Just because you know the person’s viewpoint because of a social media post doesn’t mean it is your right to take action against them on the job. After all, where does this stuff stop? Which opinions or viewpoints are worthy of action and which are not? It’s a slippery slope and one we needn’t be caught on.
Excellent post, Horuss. One of many. Thanks.
Expect DesperatelySeekingSusan or StepStepSteponToads, whichever mask s/he’s using at any moment, to insult your intelligence.
Expect DesperatelySeekingSusan or StepStepSteponToads, whichever mask s/he’s using at any moment, to insult your intelligence.
Most remarks made here by partisan Democrats are self-indicting, so the insults are belt-and-braces.
She’s a press agent, Horuss. When she broadcasts her words, it does implicate her job. If she were a millwright working for the public works department, you might let it slide. She isn’t.
I have to agree. The press backers have to be invisible. Period. I would never put myself in that position. Good or bad. If it’s good, it’s for the client only. Just the way it works in that weird world. Well, outside of DC, where anything goes. Anything–in the big sense…. apparently.
And if her contract permits her discretion in her personal life to speak as she pleases? Still dischargable?
I agree that she should be discharged, but only if there’s a speech restriction in her contract and she was fully informed of its ramifications.
Steve – how about if we cut the baby in half? We give her a severe warning. Put her on probation for 5 years and fire her the next time.
Assuming there’s no speech restriction outside of her employment written into her current contract and any anti-modification provision (i.e., prohibiting modification) in her current contract is unenforceable, a modification of the contract still requires mutual agreement and a new benefit (perhaps a huge raise in salary) conferred on her for her promise to the school district to restrict her private speech. If she doesn’t agree to the modification, and the school district fires her, I’d suspect the school district would be in for huge loss in the subsequent lawsuit for wrongful termination.
I’d think, being the spokesperson for the DC school district and probably well-paid, she’s acutely aware of what she can say and get away with in public through social media.
Steve – actually I would say she is clueless.
Steve, she works in public relations. Speech is job performance. If she want’s it to be something else, get a normal job.
She’s the district’s version of a press secretary. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a private life, unless she’s expressly agreed to compromise her private life and beliefs. Make sense?
Her private life doesn’t encompass blaring things out on social media. She’s a flak. Presentation R Us.
She’s a public employee. Why would she have a ‘contract’ specific to her?
I believe virtually every person at her level, large city, large county or state has an individual contract. I’m somewhat surprised you would make that statement, go ahead and look at executive level job offerings for Most municipalities or local governments. I think it’s fair to say your expertise is not in Human Resources.
She’s not an ‘executive’, she’s a flak. She likely has a single-digit staff. Whether she has a discretionary appointment with contract or she’s on some sort of GS schedule is going to be local to the agency and government in question. The superintendant will be on a contract.
Why would the contract have to be specific to her if the school district wanted to limit private, political speech of its employees? If the school district were worried about its employee’s exercising their 1st Amendment rights outside of employment, such a provision – based on lots of precedent (look at the discharge of football coaches for less than puritan conduct in their private lives – is probably enforceable.
DesperatelySeekingSusan — I worked a s public school teacher for 22 years. Every year I was presented with a contract that I had to sign. This was true for every teacher in the state where I worked and still live. I have little reason to think it is any different for teachers in every district in the nation.
As for Ms. Tone, she also would have had a contract, but most likely an administrative contract rather than a contract that would have been signed by the teachers in the D.C. schools. Every district with which I have had contact over the years that employed a spokesperson employed that person as an administrative employee. I once worked as the Director of Public Relations for a school district before I became a classroom teacher. I was an administrative employee, answerable directly to the district superintendent. My contract was an administrative contract, not a teacher contract. I doubt it is any different for Ms. Tone.
Employers like hers have catch-all rules such as “Employees are forbidden to bring harm to the Department,” and my understanding is employers are given wide berth in interpreting this. Taxpayers, including white males, pay this dope’s salary. If you think taxpayers might react neutral to this alleged “joke,” I’d posit that fact she removed the comment proves she disagrees.
Late to the party again. Yes Steve, I would say that’s all up to the specific relationship. I worked for a guy once who couldn’t understand that his position wasn’t part of the limelight, so even though he has a great strategic mind, he would invariably ruin his situation by not being disciplined enough to stay professionally detached. Much like this example. It’s up to her contractor, but I would say she’ll be let go quietly after the first of the year.
“People hold views that are obnoxious, racist, sexist, homophobic… you name it but as long as they aren’t expressing those views on the job in an official capacity or in a way that keeps them from performing their job then is it really anyone else’s business to judge their private thoughts and beliefs?”
I think that makes perfect sense for most employees at a certain level.
But not for senior management and not for spokespeople who are supposed to express the public view of the institution. People at that level are always on display. Their actions necessarily reveal something about how they value people and ideas.
Hillary Tone was supposed to be the person that we can look to for the official view of District of Columbia Public Schools.
If Hilary wants to make bigoted jokes at the expense of certain ethnic groups, let her get a low level job with union protection or let her start her own firm.
Her public expression of bigotry is ample reason to reprimand or remove her.
Let’s hope that your perspective proves out with DDT. There was never a more disgusting and deplorable person to hold the office of President. Let’s hope that does not interfere with his deals. Just whom the deals will benefit is something we will learn by and by. However, given his established modus operandi it looks like his foundation uber rich and fellow oligarchs will be doing quite well. It will be seen how the other 95% make out.
We will continue to hear about how DDT has saved the economy before even taking office. We will continue to be sold the sizzle as DDT explained in his book, ‘The Art of the Deal’. You don’t sell the building. You sell the illusion.’ Thus far DDT has worked his magic on a lot of people. He has loaded his cabinet up with fellow oligarchs and is moving in a direction 180 degrees opposite of what he promised. Of course what does one expect from the world’s premier pathological liar. We should expect more from the everyman.
The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one.
Nick – issac had a problem going into the election and it has just gotten worse.
issac – you really are not paying attention are you? You are just a sore loser.
Demonstrable lies? Your evidence is other than empirical?
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