Recently I was stalked around Facebook by someone who felt compelled to accuse me of trying to “compete” with the current “leaders” of the workplace bullying movement. I’ve heard this before and nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t even believe in the concept of the charismatic leader. “The Charismatic Leader will typically attach themselves firmly to the identify of the group, such that to join the group is to become one with the leader. In doing so, they create an unchallengeable position for themselves.” That’s unhealthy for any social movement and something that academic research in this area has warned against for some time.
Instead my role, both as a full-time professor in MSU’s School of Communication & Media and a veteran documentary filmmaker, is to cast a wide net to gather and reflect on theoretical and applied research in order to better point my lens at all aspects of a social issue. The attacks on Facebook are really less about me and reflect more accurately on a movement that shamelessly nurtures this behavior. Actions, by the way, that are not unlike the very bullying they claim to be fighting when in reality they should instead embrace the opportunity for a civil exchange of ideas – differing or not. It’s amazing to me that so many of these attacks question my “motives” for making a film — that they have never seen. This suggests zero tolerance for any honest or open discussion and begs the question - why? For my own protection I try to keep in mind that many who are attracted to this movement are vulnerable and struggling to recover from the devastating impact of workplace bullying. All the more reason to push for ethical leadership. Ultimately I am seeking “truth” and truth lies in the gray areas. And, however much I may respect the dedication of an advocate, this sometimes comes in direct conflict with their desire for a unified message that transmits simplistic and sometimes misleading information. And let’s be honest – however altruistic your mission may be – who has the right in our democracy to demand control of the dissemination and framing of all public information for legislators and journalists on a topic that affects us all. Continue reading
Last night I caught an episode of Nurse Jackie. Paramedics quickly wheel a pregnant woman into the ER. Dr Cruz, the newest member of the team who also happens to be in charge of everyone, tells a very pregnant Dr. O’Hara to step aside so he can take control. It’s clear to viewers that Dr Cruz has falsely assumed he needs to protect a very pregnant, and therefore very weak, Dr. Ohara from an emotionally trying situation. Continue reading
[This article was published in May 2012. See our recent posts below]
Two weeks ago, the Washington Post published an article, “Documentary faults ‘bully’ label in U-Va. suicide,” about my film, WHAT KILLED KEVIN. Shortly after the reporter amended the actual article to include allegations from Waldo Jaquith, who is featured in the documentary, that I had “cherry picked” my interview with him to fit my “agenda.” [Note: Jaquith has never seen the film and you can see his video clip and my agenda below] In an unusual move the editors of the Washington Post have since removed all of his allegations and restored the article to its original form with a notice at the top apologizing for their editorial “lapse.” Why the controversy? My film dares to take a neutral stance in exploring the incident that put the term “workplace bullying” on the map by allowing the alleged bully to tell their side of the story. Within weeks of Kevin Morrissey’s suicide, Waldo was featured in a report by the Today Show that linked Kevin’s death to actions by his “bully boss,” Ted Genoways. As the WaPo states: “eventually the case was embraced as a textbook example of a manager’s verbal and psychological abuse of an employee. That reading is far too simple, argues Beverly Peterson… The film ultimately portrays Genoways as a victim — of overhyped reporting, and of exploitation by advocates of workplace-bullying legislation, who have used the case as a national exemplar. Continue reading
This New Years I’m giving thanks to all of you who have supported my work and helped me create a powerful network of websites and videos. Top on the list is my tech guru and videographer, Patrick Perrotto, who has always been there. He freely donated the use of his state of the art broadcast quality equipment and did much of the driving.
Over the years we’ve been to Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, New York (numerous times), Virginia (numerous times), Pennsylvania and Canada and I even took a few solos to Wisconsin, Texas & Wales. Pat arranged for Ed Hollema to donate his services as Audio & Asst Camera. Let me put it this way, had we all been paid for our time, services, and equipment it would have easily cost upwards of $200,000+. I am forever indebted to them both. Feel free to help by making a donation of any size. Continue reading