Returned to the Recommended list — Steven D

Appearing at The Blogging Curmudgeon, My Left Wing, and the Independent Bloggers’ Alliance.

Crying Girl, 1963

Well now I’ve seen everything. Prominently placed on The Huffington Post is one of the most sickening bits of apologia I’ve ever read. Ari Emanuel pleads the case of the freshly fired CEO of HBO, Chris Albrecht. Sure he beat up his girlfriend, but he’s a really good at spotting talent!

Writes Emanuel:

Chris Albrecht, like the rest of us, is not a perfect person. But he is a brilliant executive who helped turn HBO from a place to watch movies, stand-up comedy, and boxing into the home for some of the most creative and challenging original programming in the history of television. He has an amazing eye for talent, the ability to nurture that talent, and the patience to let outside-the-box shows find their audience. Without him, we wouldn’t have had The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, or Everyone Loves Raymond (which HBO produced).

The Sopranos?! I love that show. Well, ok then! What’s a little assault and battery?

Officers at the site of the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr. boxing match came running when they spotted a man later identified as Albrecht grabbing a woman by the throat with both hands and dragging her toward the valet parking station at the MGM Grand.

Police said Albrecht was unsteady on his feet, reeked of alcohol and said of the woman, “She pissed me off.”

So who is this sad apologist for thoroughly indefensible behavior? Rahm Emanuel’s brother. That’s who.

Ari Emanuel, founder of the Endeavor Agency and agent for Larry David, Michael Moore, Sacha Baron Cohen, etc., etc. (and brother of Dem big-shot Rahm Emanuel) is ticked off about how the press has treated his friend and now-former head of HBO, Chris Albrecht. He’s especially bothered by what turned out to be the smoking gun: HBO’s 1991 settlement involving a subordinate and love interest of Albrecht’s who alleged that he had shoved and choked her in her office. Emanuel says the press “dug up a 16 year old incident, dusted off the cobwebs covering it, and suddenly created ‘a pattern’ of behavior that required the delivery of Chris’ head on a platter.”

Yes. Not surprisingly, Albrecht has a history of grabbing his girlfriends around the neck and throwing them on the ground. It must be because he’s “a creative genius given to emotional tirades.” As reported in the Los Angeles Times a previous incident had been effectively buried by a hefty settlement.

In 1991, Time Warner Inc.’s HBO paid a settlement of at least $400,000 to a female subordinate with whom Albrecht was romantically involved after she alleged that he shoved and choked her, according to four people with knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because the payment was confidential….

[Sasha] Emerson, who had joined HBO in 1986, was senior vice president at HBO Independent Productions and reported directly to Albrecht.

By 1990, the two had become romantically involved. Both were married at the time. The affair broke up Emerson’s first marriage, according to one person close to her.

By the time the incident occurred, Emerson and Albrecht had ended their trysts. Albrecht allegedly assaulted Emerson in her office in Century City when she told him she had been dating someone else, said one person close to Emerson. Albrecht allegedly threw her from her chair to the ground, the person said.

But, says Emanuel, Albrecht has expressed “deep regret” about knocking his new girlfriend around. From the Washington Post:

Albrecht said he was “deeply sorry for what occurred in Las Vegas this weekend and for any embarrassment it caused my family, the company I love, and myself.”

Who’s missing from this public apology… Oh, I know! The girlfriend he beat the crap out of!

This is just so bloody typical. Domestic violence affects approximately 1.5 million women and 845,000 men per year, with far more abused women than men suffering severe injuries. (This isn’t hard to figure out. Men tend to be substantially stronger than women.) And the excuses for this brutality seem endless.  One of the biggest comes into play in the case of Mr. Albrecht. ‘Twas the drink that made him do it. So saith Ari Emanuel:

He is an alcoholic who fell off the wagon and made a terrible mistake.

Like so many high profile celebrities who fuck up royally, Albrecht is will seek treatment for his alcoholism.

In a statement sent to HBO staff members and released publicly Tuesday, Albrecht said he had been a “sober member” of Alcoholics Anonymous for 13 years.

“Two years ago, I decided that I could handle drinking again. Clearly, I was wrong. Given that truth, I have committed myself to sobriety. I intend to take a temporary leave of absence from HBO effective today, in order to go back to working with AA.”

Yes, alcholism is a cunning, baffling, powerful disease. It is not, however, a cause or an excuse for domestic violence.

The belief that alcoholism causes domestic violence evolves both from a lack of  information about the nature of this abuse and from adherence to the “disinhibition    theory.” This theory suggests that the physiological effects of alcohol include    a state of lowered inhibitions in which an individual can no longer control his    behavior. Research conducted within the alcoholism field, however, suggests that    the most significant determinant of behavior after drinking is not the physiological    effect of the alcohol itself, but the expectation that individuals place on the    drinking experience (Marlatt & Rohsenow, 1980). When    cultural norms and expectations about male behavior after drinking include boisterous    or aggressive behaviors, for example, research shows that individual men are more    likely to engage in such behaviors when under the influence than when sober.

Despite the research findings, the belief that alcohol lowers inhibitions persists  and along with it, a historical tradition of holding people who commit crimes  while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs less accountable than those  who commit crimes in a sober state (MacAndrew & Edgerton, 1969). Batterers, who have not been held accountable for their abusive behavior in general, find themselves even less accountable for battering perpetrated when they are under the influence of alcohol. The alcohol provides a ready and socially acceptable excuse for their violence.

Evolving from the belief that alcohol or substance abuse causes domestic violence  is the belief that treatment for the chemical dependency will stop the violence.  Battered women with drug-dependent partners, however, consistently report that  during recovery the abuse not only continues, but often escalates, creating greater  levels of danger than existed prior to their partners’ abstinence. In the    cases in which battered women report that the level of physical abuse decreases,    they often report a corresponding increase in other forms of coercive control    and abuse–the threats, manipulation and isolation intensify (Minnesota    Coalition for Battered Women, 1992).

But don’t count on little things like facts to stop good old boys like Ari Emanuel from spouting canards in defense of  those really great guys who just happen to beat women.

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