Ethics question: Would you work for an organization you disagree with? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old January 10th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #16
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Dave... agreed.

Being a child of the 60s, there is no moral dilemma for me here. I wouldn't do it. America defends freedom of speech and a group like the KKK has a right to promote their message. I, on the other hand, strenuously disagree with it and would not do anything help that message get out to even one more person. I'd rather panhandle and live in a box. There are other groups/positions that I would not help support, lest you think it's just this group. My principles/values are more important to me than anything I posses.

I also wouldn't want the world, or even the smallest part of it, to know I participated in something that was contrary to my values.

Ultimately, the decision has to be yours and there is no way I'm going to judge what you choose. Regardless of how well I ever got to know you and no matter how many dozens or even hundreds of hours were spent trying to understand your priorities and values, I'll still be on the outside looking in.

I'm reticent to recommend in general and even more so in this case. If I was faced with this dilemma, I would think it all the way through and make a decision that I'm sure that I won't regret later.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:21 PM   #17
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Criminals are represented by lawyers and attorneys. This doesn't mean that they approve of what thy have done.

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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #18
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Okay, if anything, take this one on for size....
I know, i've been in a simliar circumstance....


Ask yourself this..
When the credit rolls start, and it's your name that rolls up, your name will be attached to the final product..FOREVER!!!
That being said, it's likea bad tattoo that gets inked onto your skin. The type of future work you ponder might get affected by what you do now...Yeah, we all need the money, but only you can make the decision whether it's worth it..
Scrupples aside, you definately need to think if this will be a long term noose around your neck..
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Old January 11th, 2009, 11:57 PM   #19
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If you need the money you can always use a pseudonym... not that the truth might not come out anyway, but there are "options" if you're desperate <wink>. And a 30 second commercial doesn't need credits... depends on the project... and probably the people involved as well - you may not agree with someone, but if you have mutual respect in a business relationship... MAYBE it can work.

I vote for following your principles in your personal life, and in theory it should also translate into your business, but business is business, and sometimes that doesn't work that way. Maybe I go to shoot a wedding that I can already tell will end in a divorce before the ink on the license dries, and I don't agree with that... do I shoot anyway? How about that civil union?

If you feel strongly enough to refuse to do business with a client, that's fine. Just watch out for that discrimination issue.

I'm going to guess that perhaps the client isn't necessarily as polarized as the "KKK", but since the OP didn't want to reveal that info, maybe that's off base. The OP referring to it as "propaganda" is strongly worded, but he also touches on free speech - so the dilema runs deep, I'm trying to add some depth to my answer...
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #20
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I'm sorry to make it all so cryptic. I've just learned the hard way never to talk about a client on public boards such as these. I would say that the social issue is as polarizing as the KKK, but it's not so cut and dry. In other words, good people I respect can be found on the side of the argument espoused by this video production. Whereas with the KKK, well, it's pretty easy to see they're a bad bunch.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:34 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I think that this is a position a lot of attorneys find themselves in. These people aren't stupid and I'm sure they know in their hearts that they're defending someone who's as guilty as sin - but our system says that everyone has a fundamental right to an effective defense in court because to do otherwise would subvert the system and allow innocent people to be convicted.

I think people have a right to have their stories told and told well, as long as the telling isn't in itself illegal or unethical.

What would you think of a doctor who stood by and let a rapist die for lack of medical attention? Regardless of what the doctor personally thought of rapists.
Well, doctors and lawyers are considered professions mostly because they are ethically responsible to defend those they believe to be guilty and heal those who they find repugnant, because the alternatives - the "obviously guilty" get no defense, and the repugnant sick no treatment, are simply not possible.

The consequences in the first case are innocent people going to jail; in the second case, people dying unnessesarily.

However, the worst case is that these guys don't get your art. The fact that some viewpoints are so repugnant that they are outright rejected by many people is, perhaps, unfair, but not unjust. One of the values of free speech is being able to say what you want - but if you can't find an audience, tough cookies.

I would turn down the job. It is bothering you greatly. I'd be polite and professional about it - the same guy hiring you for this one job might have jobs in the future that you might be willing to work on.

It also depends on how badly you need the money. If you need it badly enough that you might not make rent, do a half assed job (you don't want repeat business from them, after all) take the money and run.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:57 AM   #22
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I'd absolutely film a movie for the KKK, but I'd hire Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock to do the voiceover. :)
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Old January 12th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
I'm sorry to make it all so cryptic. I've just learned the hard way never to talk about a client on public boards such as these. I would say that the social issue is as polarizing as the KKK, but it's not so cut and dry. In other words, good people I respect can be found on the side of the argument espoused by this video production. Whereas with the KKK, well, it's pretty easy to see they're a bad bunch.
I can think of only one subject in the US, which appears to be as divisive as extreme racism. If it's one I'm thinking of I personally wouldn't have problems with working as a technician, because it would be a matter of personal conscience and both sides have the right to put forward their case.

However, I would draw the line if the client was promoting extreme or illegal actions rather than just promoting their case in having say a law changed.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 06:17 AM   #24
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If it were up to me, I too would share the original poster's sense of pride in one's work - and as such simply couldn't do a "poor quality" job - even if I vehemently disagreed with the subject matter. That said, there really are only two things that I'd refuse - anything dealing with animal testing/torture or the abuse of children. I simply couldn't witness either without killing the offender with my bare paws. Bottom line - Don't harm the innocents (children and animals), and I'd film it or record it, and throw my name in the credits without hesitation - then gladly cash the check and buy more gear.

My two cents and pocket lint... from a wolven perspective.

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Old January 12th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #25
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Marco,

I guess I believe that if you have to ask that question in the first place, then maybe you already have your own answer...as for me, I'd seriously consider doing the job. Generally speaking, as long as it's not illegal, I'd consider doing any job. I too, have bills to pay!

(Clarification: Not saying I'd agree with the content, just that I need all the work I can get...period!)
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Old January 12th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Whereas with the KKK, well, it's pretty easy to see they're a bad bunch.
Is it? Didn't D.W. Griffiths film "Birth of a Nation" represent the KKK as heroes?

That's kinda the power of film as a propaganda tool. It can be used to represent all manner of bad guys as sympathetic figures. Dexter, anyone?

I don't think it matters how "good people" are lining up on both sides of the issue, because underneath the KKK sheets were respected pillars of their communities...

It is easier to compromise our own morals when we are invisible, as your own example suggests. I would say imagine a real person whose respect you would never want to lose (in my case, that would be my child). I would not want to make a video that I could not show to that person without feeling guilt or embarrassment.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:21 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
I'm sorry to make it all so cryptic. I've just learned the hard way never to talk about a client on public boards such as these. I would say that the social issue is as polarizing as the KKK, but it's not so cut and dry. In other words, good people I respect can be found on the side of the argument espoused by this video production. Whereas with the KKK, well, it's pretty easy to see they're a bad bunch.
Perhaps it would be more outrageous if you refused to do the job. If it is a legitimate issue with respectable points of view on both sides, are you sure you are on the right side?

But if you want to get invited to parties in Hollywood, you better choose your side good.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #28
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Sounds like it's more along the lines of whether a plumber who is supports the "Right to Life" movement should fix a broken water pipe at an abortion clinic.

Blacks and whites are pretty scarce. Everything else is a shade of gray. Which can be almost white or almost black, but can't be either one.

In the end it's simply up to you whether green outweighs whatever particular shade of gray you'r struggling with.

No right or wrong answers I'm afraid.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #29
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This is very interesting and I might be inclined to take on a project like this for this reason:

Being able to do my own artistic version of this project on this unusual subject matter.

First, if you are concerned about your name being associated with the work, request IN WRITING on the contract that you don't wish to be listed in the credits, and you want payment in full after viewing rough edit. You also should state that you own the copyright and that they sign that.

I would also give a lot of thought what this project could be "cut and edited" into for your own sake and point of view and interpretation that would not really fall into the realm of "their" project, but for you to show in your own interpretation. This could easily turn out to be a your creative interpretation of this group, without having to give this to them, just the original agreed project parameters.

Surely you'll get tons of footage (hopefully) and some of the best stuff are the outakes, tests, and so on. This is the beauty of film/video. You must film EVERYTHING, keep the camera rolling for those unscripted moments. As a videographer, blend in, even if you hate it. Keep thinking of what might come of this FOR YOU.

Try not to be obvious about this. Go under cover. Show the world what you can do with this. And make a couple of bucks at the same time. But be very careful. Human nature is weird.

I hope this post gives you food for thought.

Jonathan
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Old January 12th, 2009, 04:58 PM   #30
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...Being able to do my own artistic version of this project on this unusual subject matter.
If you're hired to "work on" a project there's virtually no chance that you own the footage, so it would be quite impossible (and highly unethical) to act as a mole or saboteur and do this.

This whole "shades of gray" and "you gotta earn a living" thing is a very dangerous slippery slope. Using this reasoning you could justify shooting kiddie porn or being the videographer for Al-Qaeda as they blow up a building. Absurd extremes, but follows the same reasoning.

I've been asked for marketing and advertising help for cigarettes and similar projects, and without hesitation I always refuse. You gotta make a stand somewhere.

And I don't think the plumber in the abortion clinic analogy holds. In our business, what we do has the effect of legitimizing and promoting ideas... that's the sole purpose of the propaganda video in question. While fixing a pipe does enable the abortion clinic to continue functioning, it's not publicly supporting the idea.

With all due respect, blacks and whites are not scarce at all. They're obvious nearly all the time. And there are definitely right and wrong answers staring you straight in the face.

So with respect to the original question in the thread title, the answer is not only "no," but "hell, no." But if you did sign on to do this, to betray your client as suggested above would be even worse. And Marco, your guilt over betraying your principles will last far longer than whatever cash they pay you to do so.
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