The right to free speech is the very first Amendment to our Constitution, and it’s one of the most frequently cited amendments, especially when things get heated between two individuals or political parties. The right to free speech, specifically as it relates to public figures, was promised by our founding fathers as a way to protect our democracy. The idea is that free speech encourages an open debate and exchange of information and ideas about candidates before people head to the polls, but is there a difference between what’s legal and what’s ethical?
Because of the importance of being able to exchange information about political candidates and public figures, the law is designed to make it more difficult for public figures to sue for defamation, but what if, instead of suing for defamation, you have a conversation with the employer of the person whose speech you don’t like about whether their speech is ethical?
Bandy X. Lee, a psychiatrist who used to work at Yale University, published a tweet back in January of 2020 when Donald J. Trump was facing an impeachment trial. His attorney, Alan M. Dershowitz, came under fire for his connections to Jeffrey Epstein, who had been accused of sex trafficking. Mr. Dershowitz said he and his wife enjoyed a “perfect sex life,” and Dr. Lee pointed out that the use of the word “perfect” suggested Mr. Dershowitz was under a “shared psychosis” with his client, Mr. Trump, who also likes to use the word “perfect” a lot. Continue reading ›