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Skadden lawyer accused of racism over Paris attacks article

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Associate authored piece titled “It’s okay if you care more about the Paris attacks than the Beirut bombings”

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A Skadden lawyer has been accused of racism after publicly defending people who care more about the Paris attacks than other atrocities.

Maxim Mayer-Cesiano, (pictured) an associate at the global firm’s New York office, penned an article yesterday in the Washington Post headlined:

It’s okay if you care more about the Paris attacks than the Beirut bombings.

The contentious headline was followed with a tagline proclaiming, “That doesn’t make you a racist.”

Unfortunately for Mayer-Cesiano, who works in Skadden’s mergers and acquisitions team, many have disagreed vehemently with this views — which were justified with, among other things, a bizarre analogy about how people only grieve for their own relatives. Mayer-Cesiano explains it like this:

But while all people are created equal, it is no crime to rue the loss of something familiar more than the loss of something remote or altogether unknown. We weep for the loss of a relative to cancer, but not for the loss of a stranger to the same disease

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Today Mayer-Cesiano’s piece caught the eye of journalist and ex-lawyer Joe Patrice. In a scathing rebuttal, Patrice, formerly of Cleary Gottlieb, has hit back on the US legal blog Above the Law Redline, writing:

The subtitle boldly proclaims: ‘That doesn’t make you a racist.’ Actually… no, that’s exactly what it makes you.

Lambasting the Skadden lawyer, Patrice continued:

Sure, not keeping up with Beirut or Nigeria doesn’t mean you’re ready to don a hood and burn a cross (probably), but being in any way aware of these incidents and making the conscious decision to dismiss or downgrade those attacks in your mind is pretty much definitionally racist.

Whatever your views on Mayer-Cesiano’s article — and it’s worth bearing in mind that some left-leaning, ethnic minority commenters agree with him — the big issue for legal market-watchers is how the article made it past Skadden’s press office.

Global corporate law firms are notoriously reluctant to express public opinions on anything vaguely contentious for fear of offending their many clients and potential clients. How one of Skadden’s junior lawyers ended up penning an article in his own name in a national newspaper expressing a controversial view about a major terrorist attack is mystifying.

Legal Cheek would love to be a fly on the wall in Skadden’s PR department today.

30 Comments

Not Amused

1) People need to stop judging each other. These events are horrific and we are all, rightly, in shock. It is not appropriate in those circumstances for anyone to start suggesting that anyone’s feelings are or are not valid.

2) This trend, which comes largely from Twitter, of trying to hurt or destroy the career of someone who you disagree with is despicable. We need to teach people that they do not have the right to hurt people merely because they are upset.

(81)(14)

Steve

I am totally in agreement with you. The lynch mob mentality of the sheep who scream racism when the man is only expressing an honest opinion.

(38)(18)

Anonymous

Should he not be held accountable for his opinion?

(18)(16)

Quo Vadis

Accountable in what sense? Personally, or professionally?

(9)(5)

Anonymous

If, by “held accountable” you mean “hounded from his job by a baying lynch mob for daring to express a nuanced and subtle opinion that many, in their grief and sensitivity have misunderstood or otherwise completely overreacted to”

Then, no. That should not happen.

(33)(15)

Anonymous

Wish I could give this more than one thumbs-up.

(4)(5)

Anonymous

Er, surely it depends on why you care. You might not care about any of it on an emotional level, but be concerned that your own country has foreign strategies in common with one of the countries attacked which might make it a target also. That might make you selfish, but it doesn’t make you racist.

Caring more about one set of victims than the other may be a different matter.

(13)(2)

ford G

This man ought to be ashamed of himself and his disgusting vile comment! And to think he is a lawyer too … shame on you

(23)(47)

Anonymous

Eat dick you utter douchecock.

(13)(16)

Anonymous

I’m guessing your law degree teaches you fanciful words like “douchecock”, you scrotesucker.

(14)(3)

Anonymous

He’s correct in that (logically) one would naturally be more upset by an attack on somewhere or someone familiar than on somewhere or someone unfamiliar.

However, it’s important to emphasise that either is just as much a tragedy as the other, and it’s also massively insensitive to the feelings of others to state it on such a public forum in such a badly-worded way.

…And it’s professionally unforgivable if you’re aware that by speaking publicly in such a way, you are effectively doing so as the face of a global body, with a global audience.

(15)(8)

K

I agree with Para’s 1 and 2 completely, but not the last one, if you mean that he should be fired. However if the company thinks it will lose enough clients as a result of his comments that he becomes a burden on them, surely it’s the guy’s own fault

(0)(0)

K

Sorry, I mean the firm (Skadden).

(0)(0)

Quo Vadis

He is speaking for himself. He is not speaking for his employer. Should we restrict political speech to those (few) without high-profile jobs? I think it is tragic that I (and others) must comment under a pseudonym in order to have a measure of free speech. One rather recalls the original Ancient Greek derivation of the word ‘idiot’ – a person who willfully withdraws from public life and discussion. Unless the speech is criminal, the speech must be free.

(14)(5)

K

Surely it’s more a question of the commercial interests of Skadden…just as everyone has free speech, they are also free to accept the consequences of their speech, and if Skadden were to have clients who were sufficiently offended by an employee’s political or other comments that such clients would want to work less for the firm, surely it would then be a commercial decision for Skadden as to how much said employee was harming their firm as a result of his or her comments…

(3)(0)

K

(sorry) *would want to work less with the firm

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Let’s hope he doesn’t get 40 virgins in heaven

(7)(0)

TC

It is patently not racist to be more grieved by Paris than anywhere else. The victims of the attacks were not just white Europeans; they came from many different backgrounds.

As the writer said, it is natural to feel a greater sense of loss when those close to you suffer than you do in respect of those who are distant. This is true of people and of nations.

To presume that people with the Tricolore featured in their profile pictures feel nothing for all victims of terrorism is offensive and belies a disgraceful condescension so common amongst twitter crusaders.

Aside from all the above, I would argue that it is still acceptable to mourn Parisian victims more than those killed elsewhere. The attacks on Paris were an attack on European values and our common traditions. So many of the assaults in the Middle-East are simply different chapters in a long and senseless war between Sunni and Shia paramilitary groups.

Every fatality is tragic but the careful choice of targets in the Paris attacks shows that this was about more than killing Westerners. It was an attack on our way of life.

(17)(15)

MrShineHimDiamond

Why would this American have more in common with France?

(14)(4)

Anonymous

No one is suggesting that you, personally, should feel that way. The point is surely that no one has the right to judge those who do.

(0)(7)

Anonymous

I think you are missing the point. When you cry over white strangers and not colored strangers it’s bc you connect with the white people in ways you don’t with colored people. Call it what you want but that is seeing one superior to the other. It happens in the US. Can you name a single missing colored person? I can name about 3 missing white girls: Natalie holloway for one. I suppose colored people don’t go missing in the US.

(10)(2)

Lord Harley of Bollocks

This is why I’m scared to use my name or express a contentious opinion anywhere near the internet. Not only will the SRA just love to make an example of me, but even if they don’t there are plenty of do-gooders keen to harass me and my firm for an opinion they disagree with.

Putting your head above the parapet unless you hold “the right opinion” of moonbat raving lefties is career suicide these days.

Long live free speech eh?

(10)(8)

Anonymous

SACRIFICE HIM ON THE ALTAR OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!!!!

TAKE HIS JOB! TAKE HIS REPUTATION! TAKE HIS FUTURE!!!!

NO PUNISHMENT IS TOO GREAT FOR EXPRESSING AN OPINION THAT WE, THE SELF-APPOINTED GUARDIANS OF WHAT CAN AND CANNOT BE SAID, HAVE DECREED AS UNACCEPTABLE!!!

(22)(12)

Anonymous

I don’t think its racist to care more about some people than others – it’s human. Although, if it is racist, then most of the UK is racist in a way no one could even begin to comprehend….

(1)(6)

Anonymous

Why is that Legal Cheek insists on reporting on what should be harmless articles produced by lawyers, with such spin as to encourage their employers to fire them?

You should be helping lawyers, not attempting to ruin their lives via tabloid sensationalism.

(5)(5)

Realist

Why is that Legal Cheek insists on reporting on what should be harmless articles produced by lawyers, with such spin as to encourage their employers to fire them?

You should be helping lawyers, not attempting to ruin their lives via tabloid sensationalism.

(7)(7)

paddylaw

Abe Lincoln a lawyer himself once remarked,”Sometimes its better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, rather than opening it and proving them right”

(12)(1)

Lord Scally of Tesco's

M&A? pff pleb

(4)(0)

Laird Lyle of the Isles

And whae about poor wee Scott’s lassies wae thair hair pulled? A snifter of Glenfiddich for LC faer standing up faer thon wans. Away with them Boyroot n Boot in the Ham boys.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Amazing how everybody is now an expert on terrorism following the Paris shootings.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.