[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.
(Personal comments from an online petition created by a coalition fighting workplace bullying that asks the Obama Administration to enact uniform national legislation or regulation in response to the devastating impact of workplace bullying. Each signature generates an email sent directly to President Obama and Secretary of State, Hilda Solis.)
Tragically this is only a small sampling of the stories woven among thousands and thousands of signatures. (Some comments are excerpted)
#6936 ah yes. i remember that boss i had who screamed at me that i couldn’t quit (quite intimidating about it; i was afraid she was going to hit me), and who threw the telephone across the room and kicked animals. fun stuff. good times. y’know
Beverly, You signed on February 10, 2012. Your signature has been delivered to: Department of Labor and President Obama
Finally we all have a pipeline to tell our stories and ask for respect and dignity in the workplace. Here’s what I told them:
Many of us have experienced the devastating consequences of this abuse first hand. Some, like myself, were lucky enough to move on. Far more do not. No one should ever be subjected to a hostile work environment.
It’s not unusual for me to get emails with attached documentation from victims/targets suffering abusive work environments. Sometimes they hold up and sometimes the evidence suggests the real bully is the one reaching out to me – angry that they can’t dictate what management should be doing. No doubt mainstream journalists have had access to these stories for years and ethical concerns about printing subjective information that can destroy careers and businesses kill story after story. But, as bullying has become a popular topic among readers it’s now far more common to see allegations of abuse hit the headlines. The latest example out of Minnesota is featured in today’s Star Tribune: 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.
This year our most popular posts continue to cover a wide range of topics and issues related to workplace bullying. We continue to focus on our mission to critique and offer new voices and alternatives to the current dialogue. Two 2010 posts ( about Mediation & OSHA ) are still extremely popular. Here’s a recap for 2011: Continue reading →