Marriott fires employee for "willfully liking" a tweet in support of Tibetan independence


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/15/willfull-liking.html


#2

Marriott is very sorry for accidentally hiring a company that supports human rights. Can we do anything to appease you?

Well, your lamb here would make a nice sacrifice.

Done.

It’s a start. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be back with further demands after Facebook is done kowtowing to us for a piece of the largest market on Earth.


#3

I wonder how well they think that passive resistance thing is working out for them, now that Tibet has been gutted of resources and a huge percentage of the populace is fucking dead.

When a monster comes knocking, you don’t wait for them to go away; you escape, or you fight. You don’t freeze, if you want to live.


#4

We can’t expect any other outcome when a sociopathic slow AI discovers that one of its meat servants has used its resources in a way that endangers its prime directive (which, to be clear, doesn’t reference self-determination of peoples or human rights).

[ETA: credit to Ted Chiang, Charlie Stross and @doctorow as well as Joel Bakan]


#5

Holy shit, that’s probably the best way to describe this!


#6

If they really wanted to promote Tibetan independence without getting sacked, they should have just tweeted “Check out this Beastie Boys set from 20 years ago! I bet some of the crowd stayed at a Marriott that night“


#7

Well it really is a slow or quick death, cause China would just glass the region if it got uppidy.


#8

Minor point of clarification; the source article says they were fired for “Wrongful” not “Willful”. I did a double check against other news sites like South China Post and CNN. A minor but important difference as one implies an intentional act of disobedience while the other implies it was just a mistake and maybe the employee wasn’t aware they were doing something was wrong.


#9

I think the important bit is the like was done from the corporate official account which is a different animal than the employees personal account. They did something with an account representing the employer that caused problems and probably should have been approved by the company overlords (and backed up with a paper trail… always CYA on this stuff).


#10

I wonder how the surveys list occupied Palestine and occupied Syria.


#11

The degree of bootlicking here is quite extraordinary.


#12

Lesson here: Don’t get creative while using an official account of the company you work for.

Now if he had been fired for doing this on his personal account I’d be outraged but as I read the article, he used the company’s account to express his opinion. That’s never a good idea.

This transcends the right or wrong of the political arguments.


#13

It’s quite unremarkable, actually.

  • The New Territories (Hong Kong and Macau) are recognized as Chinese, but evolved and are administered very differently. The questionnaire separated them out as a practical consideration because a Marriott hotel in Hong Kong is going to be very different from a Marriott hotel in mainland China.
  • Taiwan is a separate country – a separate China, even – to everyone except the PRC: the questionnaire separated them out because that’s the political expectation everywhere except in mainland China.
  • Tibet is controlled by China with no practical opposition government existing: it’s separated out politically because the West considers it an immoral occupation, not a part of the country proper (and of course China disagrees).

The questionnaire was trying to be both practical (separating out the New Territories) and politically correct to everyone except mainland China (with Tibet and Taiwan). Obviously, the “except to mainland China” part offends the Chinese and runs afoul of their laws. And if you want to do business in China, you follow those laws. Businesses don’t just go around pulling out of countries because of a political disagreement between a host country and some of it’s employees. After all, that would hardly be the best thing for their employees actually working in that country, or the business as a whole, now would it?

It especially would not be done when the “disagreement” has lasted for decades, with no foreseeable end. It is the political reality. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to work around it. You don’t pitch a fit about it, because it won’t help. You don’t ignore it, because there are consequences. You accept that you’ve chosen to do business there, knowing the consequences and trade-offs.

A more knowledgeable author might have written the survey calling out something vague like “jurisdictions”, and then put “mainland China” instead of just “China”, to leave it unclear how the author felt about the politics of it.


#14

I guess that managing director didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.


#15

At this point i’m unsure if Tibet will gain freedom from China unless something drastic happens, like something akin to the collapse of the USSR. Pretty sad what China has done to Tibet, its people, and their culture.


#16

Does it? 


#17

And that’s the root of the problem right there.


#18

Of course they dont want to honk of their red chinese masters. They took a lesson from Monty Burns.


#19

Tibet hadn’t exactly been a bastion of liberty prior to the Chinese intervention.

That doesn’t mean occupying it and forcefully culturally assimilating it is ok. But I think there is a conflation of the procedural and substantive matters at work here. Invading and annexing other countries is wrong and should be resisted in principle. Nostalgically celebrating a serf-holding theocracy just because it got stomped on by someone bigger is not so obviously correct.


#20

If you want to be paid for your work, you should perform it as expected. If you get hired to promote the image of your client in a certain geopolitical area and you make a major political faux pas of it… well, why should they continue rewarding you for that?

If you have a major ethical problem with the job, don’t take it.