Monday, April 25, 2011

Akin Gump: Can All iPad Users Be Mentally Disturbed?

I was employed as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1988 to 1991. I was terminated by the firm in late October 1991 after the firm's senior managers reportedly determined that a harassment complaint I lodged against my supervisor (Chris Robertson) and others was the product of a psychiatric "disorder" that might render me potentially violent.

One of the incidents I reported to the firm's managers occurred in the spring of 1990, in late March or early April. The Easter holiday fell on Sunday April 16, 1990.

I continue to believe that some time in early spring 1990 harassment occurred after I was assigned, by the litigation support administrator (Robertson), to a work station to perform a specified task (for the client Music Corporation of America “MCA”). Upon sitting down, I looked into the trash basket next to the desk and noticed that it contained a baby food jar. The jar had been wiped clean before being placed in the trash basket. This fact was consistent with the jar having been brought from home by someone for the express purpose of placing it in the trash basket with the intent to harass me. The epithet "baby" is stereotypically anti-Semitic. See Brief of Appellee District of Columbia at 9-10, Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-0CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).

Coincidentally, the client MCA was later purchased by Edgar Bronfman, an individual active in numerous Jewish causes; Bronfman has served as Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League and has headed the World Jewish Congress. Robertson was later found to have made a racially-inappropriate statement about a minority person, and was alleged to have colluded with another supervisor in the discriminatory termination of a black employee. McNeil v. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, no. 93-0477 (D.D.C., Nov. 29, 1993).

Let me say, I don't know who put the baby food jar in the trash can. It could have been my supervisor or anyone. I don't know if my being seated at a work station next to which there was a trash can containing an empty baby food jar was an act of harassment -- indeed, whether assuming it was harassment it was intended as anti-Semitic harassment. All I know is that I was seated next to a trash can that contained a baby food jar; the supervisor who seated me at that station was a court-adjudicated racist who later made egregiously defamatory statements about me after I lodged a complaint against her; and things relating to babies can have anti-Semitic overtones. Those are the facts.

(From a legal standpoint, it's interesting that in a sworn declaration filed by Akin Gump with the D.C. Department of Human Rights, the firm failed to disclose that I had ever lodged a harassment complaint against my supervisor. The firm's sworn declaration omits any reference to the baby food jar caper; though an exhibit -- a memo written by Earl Segal -- does mention the baby food jar incident).

The following facts provide some (paranoid) context to the incident (or "incident").

1. Since the middle ages Jews have been subjected to a form of defamation known as the "blood libel." Hard-core anti-Semites have believed for centuries that Jews murder Christian babies around Passover (and Easter) and use the babies' blood for ritual purposes.

2. The events at Akin Gump (described above) occurred in the period preceding Easter and Passover.

3. Since the Middle Ages there has been a belief among hard-core anti-Semites that Jewish men menstruate.

4. On one occasion my supervisor repeatedly referred to her legal pad, or tablet, as a "pad." I had the paranoid idea of reference that she was referring to menstruation. At that time, in about the year 1990, I was unaware of the anti-Semitic belief in Jewish male menstruation. But I registered my supervisor's use of the word "pad" as relating to menstruation and women, and I believed somehow that it had something to do with me. I did not register the idea as anti-Semitic, however.

5. Relatively recently, the Apple Computer Company began marketing the iPad, a computer device. A marketing issue that Apple has experienced is that consumers associate the name iPad to the female menstrual cycle. In fact, a Google search of iPad + menstruation yields 1,100,000 hits.

Can all these people be paranoid, potentially violent, unemployable and entitled to Social Security Disability payments? Associating ideas is simply that -- it is the act of associating ideas. Everybody has a right to an opinion.  But if you want to pay me a half-million dollars because I have opinions, go ahead: knock yourselves out!

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

Blog post from January 6, 2011:

I used to work as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. I was fired in October 1991. At the end of the termination meeting, my supervisor sat next to me as I sifted through my personal things that had been stored in a large cardboard box. She handed me a blank, unused legal pad. Some might see it as a friendly gesture: that she was offering me a gift. I saw a more sinister communication. I thought she was saying, "You can't prove a thing. You have no evidence. You have as much evidence as that contained in this blank legal pad."

I imagined that she was silently and symbolically taunting me. Well, I never forgot that moment. And I took that imagined taunt as a challenge.