Ethics in the News – Lil Naz X ‘Satan Shoe’

Hail Satan shoes: why did the 'Banksy of the internet' put blood in 666  Nike Air Max? | Fashion | The Guardian

The famous rapper, Lil Naz X released his brand new song and music video named “Montero”. In this song and in the music video are various references to satan and his values, which is what started the controversy. The song was supposed to be an open letter to his younger self about coming out and why he did. Following the release, the rapper announced that he created a shoe collaboration with MSCHF called ‘Satan Shoe”. 

There were 666 total pairs sold at a total of $1,018 per pair. Each shoe was also infused with a drop of blood in the sole. If that isn’t enough to be disturbing, the shoe used was created by Nike; but Nike had no knowledge of the creation of this shoe nor do they associate with the rapper at all. Following the shoe drop, he went on social media to voice his opinion.

He posted a YouTube video titled “Lil Naz X Apologizes for ‘Satan Shoe’”. He started out speaking regarding the controversy then his sentence gets cut short by his music video interrupting and taking up the rest of the video; he used to opportunity as another way to promote his song. He shared that he had no regrets and did not apologize for possibly offending potential fans by how he conveyed his message.

The reaction from this situation has remained to be negative throughout the media. The use of real human blood has triggered people to question the rapper’s morality and question the type of content he creates to further his career. The distributing company and Nike have reached a settlement and have proceeded to sue for trademark infringement.

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Ethics In the News Media Coverage for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl

The world as we once knew is no longer considered normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic hit the United States in March of 2020, leaving many people confused about how to continue living their lives. Although, if you live in the state of Florida, COVID-19 is nothing to be worried about. At the start of COVID, Florida was like every other state. They followed along with most covid restrictions but as time went on the state became less and less worried about curfews, capacities, and masks. Throughout the last year living through the pandemic, Florida has gained quite a reputation. Not only because Governor DeSantis has made the state “open” but because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rightfully so won the 2021 Super Bowl. 

Due to the big win in their home stadium, the city of Tampa lost all control. There were parties in the street with hundreds of people avoiding social distancing and not wearing masks. For a few seconds, it was like the pandemic did not exist. However, for those who could not experience this moment for themselves the media did a great job capturing it.

The difference in coverage between both local and national news is that one is focusing on the positive effects of the Super Bowl as the other focuses on the negative effects. Local news captures the excitement of fans after months of living through the pandemic. Whereas, national news wants to continue drilling fear into their audiences. Regardless, both station’s coverage was fair to those who were tuning in. 

  Florida news stations covered the event with pride and excitement finding no problem with fans avoiding the pandemic. In fact, in one clip from the local Channel 8 News, Jeff Patterson, the news anchor justifies the celebrations by stating “maybe it’s due to months of isolation from the pandemic, or maybe it’s more fun than protest or politics.”  Other justifications given at the local level is that it will economically help the Tampa community. 

Whereas national news covered the event differently.  NBC News did a story on the Tampa Bay Super Bowl titling it “New Covid Superspreader Fears After Super Bowl Celebrations.” Throughout the story, they discuss the fear from health officials due to large gatherings and celebrations. Overall, they made it sound like a crime to celebrate the win. They also constantly referred to statistics and death toll numbers. This constantly reminds viewers that this virus has not gone away. 

Local news stations may have incorporated bias within their coverage, however, would the tables have turned if the Super Bowl was in another city? What would you have done if you were in Tampa when a historic victory was made? A lot of residents found this as a bright spot during a time of darkness.We may never know truly what the right way to act in this situation was, but according to research, there were no spikes in cases and history was made. 

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Kansas City Chief fans, why does your team get to keep their name?

Patrick Mahomes during Kansas City Chiefs Game

We see the most popular pro teams with indigenous names. The Washington Redskins, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians, and the Golden State Warriors. Each of these teams claim to be honoring the culture and Native Americans, however, you could argue otherwise.

As most of you know, the KC Chiefs prohibited the use of headdresses as well as racial face paint to keep the integrity and honor of the name. In July 2020, the Washington Redskins received total backlash and scrutiny over their name of “Redskins” from the public eye. FedEx had asked them to change their name as they sponsor the team playing on FedEx field, as well as Nike who carries their products. The owner of the team, Dan Snyder, stated in 2013 that “We’ll never change the name.” However, once Nike dropped their merchandise from the sight, the pressure was on. The team dropped the mascot and the indigenous name and is now known as the Washington Football Team. 

Now it’s up to the Chiefs. Teams all around have changed their name, so, what makes it right for you to keep yours? It leaves the question of whether or not this is a double standard. 

The Chiefs claim they want to do nothing but honor the indigenous people by keeping the name but prohibiting the faceprint as well as the headdresses. So, if all the teams follow the same protocols and honor the teams in the best way possible to keep the Native American names alive, is it unethical? Is it ethical to let some teams keep theirs but others to receive the backlash? You tell me. All Chiefs fans have a lot to think about, especially those who are mis-representing indigenous culture.

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Craving Conscious Consumption: How 2020 Has Changed the Fashion Industry for Good

The pandemic has affected many industries including fashion. In 2020 we watched the world come to a halt and so did the fast pace lives of consumers leading to a decline in fast fashion. As we were seeking to find comfort and experiences from home, many of us came to the realization of what we found important in the brands we were purchasing from. 

Consumers are focusing on conscious consumption meaning that they are looking to gain a connection through the products they are purchasing from and a desire to impact the greater good, meaning less waste and the demand for slow fashion movement. 

As the consumer’s mindset evolves, brands are working to communicate their plans for sustainability and ethical decision making. Brands are shifting their designs and production to let us know that they are a part of the sustainable fashion movement and worthy of our hard-earned dollar. 

But is there that big of a difference between shopping fast fashion versus small? 

The answer is yes. Fast fashion has proven to be problematic in multiple ways. Between the blatant disregard of fair labor laws and unfortunate environmental impacts, the industry is far from perfect. 

To start, a staggering one in six people work in fashion worldwide, and the industry contains some of the most and least wealthy people on the planet. While billionaires are capitalizing off cheap, outsourced labor, in countries like Bangladesh only 3% of workers said they were eating adequate amounts of food. 

Further, the environmental impacts of fast fashion are reprehensible. The fashion industry was responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions in 2019, amounting to more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 

The imperfect state of the fast fashion industry explains why the overwhelming shift to slow fashion prompted by the pandemic is an important occurrence relating to current culture and society’s moral standards. As a community, we are turning away from convenience and considering what our clothing is really costing us. 

What does that mean for communication professionals?

As this shift in demand for the fashion industry occurs, fashion brands must adapt to the needs of the consumers and work to make impactful products. A great example of this would be using marketing methods like cause related marketing which is used by businesses who are not only looking to make a successful business but impact on the community. The shift in this industry could be for the better, it is up to us to hold brands accountable and inspire a change. 

Photograph: Muhammad Fadli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Test Blog #2

Test Blog #2

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Tips for Blogging Here

Ethics in the News:  That’s your topic.  Stick to it.  You can focus on any issue covered in the news recently.

Research and Support:  Sound brilliant.  Explore the featured issue from multiple perspectives. Also discuss ethical theories that relate to the case. Support your claims, especially if you are being critical of someone or something.  Cite your sources by naming them and/or linking directly to their information.  If your reader wants to know more, she can quickly access additional information.

Be Interactive:  Include hyperlinks to your sources and other interesting content about your blog topic.  Include hyperlinks early in your blog and often…but don’t overdo it.

Use Images:  Use images to strengthen your content and add interest for your reader, but keep your images relevant.

Be Succinct.  Most experts recommend about 250 words.  Use good judgement.  The length of this blog is an example of suitable length.

Be Conversational:  Write your blog in a conversational tone.  Use second-person voice and speak directly to the reader.  Say “you,” “we,” “us,” etc. to include the reader in your topic.

Invite Conversation:  This is key.  Your blog should include a call to action—the action being for the reader to talk back and continue the conversation.

Write Well.  Need I say more?

There are many resources out there about writing good blogs.   And guess what?  They’re mostly blogs.  Check them out.  If you find a good source, we’ll share it on our Resources pages.


Grading:  Yes, I know you’re concerned about a grade.  Imagine all the headers listed above will form the grading rubric for this assignment.  That’s all there is to it.

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Contract Cheating

A testing center at Penn State uses high-tech surveillance to watch for student cheating.  (Photo:  Jim Lo Scalzo for USN&WR)

When I first taught this class many years ago, I featured a Blog about the University of Central Florida (UCF) cheating scandal, whereby a professor accused students of cheating on the midterm exam.  Since that time, UCF and many other institutions have gone high tech to fight cheating, and the use of online plagiarism detection services (such as have become commonplace. 

A not-so-new cheating buzzword caught my attention this year:  “contract cheating.”  I have long been aware of professional services that provide written work for a fee, but I was not aware how much attention this topic has garnered or how much the practice has grown among college students

I agree the companies that provide this service have become more conspicuous, and students may have become more jaded to the seriousness of this offence.  In an NPR news story about students cheating their way through college, I was struck by one student who didn’t consider it “cheating” if she paid someone to write “original” work.

“They don’t plagiarize,” she said, “…they write everything on their own.”

As much as professors would like to think this topic is black-and-white, it is not.  There are many different positions you could take.  Some cast blame on educators and even our parents.  There also are many ethical approaches you could take to explore the reasoning that leads to cheating, including utilitarianism, virtue ethics, even social contract theory and many more. 

The International Center for Academic Integrity sponsors an International Day of Action against contract cheating (in October every year).

I look forward to engaging this year’s class on the topic and to hearing your views and perspectives.

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Super Bowl’s Controversial Team Names

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers competed for the title of Super Bowl champions this year, and as fans cheered and participated in the teams’ game day traditions, many of them probably did not think about the history of their favorite teams’ name.

 In his article about the Super Bowl teams’ names, Matthew Rosza explains how the controversial names not only belittle Native American history, but also the suffering they face today. 

The Chiefs’ name is problematic, however, the fans’ rituals, such as the “tomahawk chop,” that occur at Arrowhead Stadium may be even worse. “These mascots reinforce a stereotype and incorrect symbolism that Indians are uncivilized and uneducated,” said Kevin Allis, the CEO of the National Congress of American Indians and a member of the Forest County Potawatomi Community. They negatively affect Native Americans’ self-esteem, especially children and teenagers who may be represented as savage-like by their own high school’s sports teams. 

Although most fans probably are not purposely trying to offend anyone, does that make it okay? Or is the fact that they are offending people enough to get rid of Native American representations?

While many Native Americans believe these images and traditions should be banned, others have differing perspectives. A video posted by WGBH News shows a debate between two Native Americans who disagree over a bill that would ban high school teams from using names and logos that refer to the Native American culture. 

Gene Weeden, who is against the ban, said he sees it as an honor, and that there are more important things to care about. Conversely, Jason Packineau said people should just not be used as mascots in general. 

How do you feel about sports teams’ controversial names? Do you think they should put a ban on “racist” names? Let us know below.

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M-M-M-M My Corona Virus

The recent Coronavirus outbreak, now named COVID-19, has created a buzz surrounding the topic of disease and the communicable variables that spread these diseases.

Coronavirus is nothing new. Most of the common colds we deal with everyday are caused by a coronavirus. However the version causing uproar in the early months of 2020 is similar to outbreaks in recent history, but it is being dealt with in a very different manner. 

In 2003, the SARS outbreak created a stir when the Chinese government chose not to disclose the outbreak because of the impression it may give. This prevented mass hysteria however the decision caused the disease to spread at a quicker rate and delayed the process of treatment development.

This decision may have cost lives. The current outbreak, is being handled in a very different manner. There is a running count and open and honest communication between country borders. This has allowed for the virus to be identified as a unique strain in a matter of weeks, a treatment system to be implicated, and quarantines to take place. Ethically, this manner of communication is much more justifiable. 

The news of COVID-19 sparked more than a scientific race for prevention and treatment. The internet grabbed onto the new sensation to create jokes, no matter who would be harmed. Racist memes became some of the most popular mass humor on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram within days of the news. This perpetrated already recognized xenophobia and sinophobia, both which are often acted upon using disease and outsiders as justification. 

With this being said, social media has also been an outlet for “fake news.” Many believe that the spread of the disease has been aided by the spread of fake news. This “infodemic” has challenged Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to combat potentially life-threatening falsities on their platforms. This step into the new age for health professionals has created easy distribution for false information.

Coronavirus has a lot of ethical debates surrounding it: how to manage disease information, humor and social media, and the spread of false information. All of these have an effect on the public’s view of Coronavirus and how we will handle future epidemics.

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Gender Discrimination in The Workplace

Due to the recent attention of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the workplace, there have been movements that have started because of it. Movements like the #MeToo and #UsToo have become very popular amongst women and talked about globally. These movements include women sharing their stories of gender discrimination in the workplace and the sexual harassment that also occurred. The #MeToo and #UsToo movements have lead to Salesforce which is one of the most highly valued companies paying back about $3 million in adjustments in the first year after the audit showed the company had a large and continuous pay gap between men and women.

Gender Discrimination at Work is a topic that has been around for a while, however, it seems to get pushed away and forgotten about time and time again. But why? It often gets overlooked because many people have fallen into the norm of men always being in top positions. People have accepted that, and not much has been done to change any of it. 

Workplace gender discrimination comes in many different forms like gender inequality, sexism in the workplace, and so on. What it means is that an employee is treated differently or lesser than because of their sex or gender. Workplace gender discrimination can also include race or ethnicity; like women of color being discriminated against in the workplace differently from a white female co-worker. She could be harassed, paid less, passed over for a promotion because of her sex and her race. 

How does this all relate to communications? Sexual harassment and gender discrimination at any company can create a pretty bad image in the public. When stories like the ones break out into the public ear, it can diminish a companies reputation quite quickly. Which is a valid example of why PR is vital in all companies. Public Relations individuals must remember however to follow their code of conduct when handling a situation like such. They must remain honest to the public, remain loyal to there client, while also remains fair to the public.

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