Corporate Responsibility and PricewaterhouseCoopers

[First, Full Disclosure: I was a union background jazz dancer in La La Land. Though there are jokes abound about the lack of black faces in the movie, I was treated like a dancing queen on the set, personally thanked by both Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling and I made the final cut. This production will always hold a special place in my heart. However, I must be truthful that Hidden Figures was my Best Picture film of choice. African-American women spouting scientific intelligentsia in an era where we best served as maids and janitors? Oh yeah, baby, I was soooo there!]

Now for the obvious truth: the accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”) failed in their duties at the recent 2017 Oscar Awards Ceremony. What they did and/or did not do was akin to the following examples:

  • A drunk pilot taking a rough landing and scaring the bejesus out of the passengers.
  • A distracted nanny serving her nut-allergic charges peanut butter.
  • A careless waitperson plucking hairs from an entrée just before serving it to a customer.
  • A selfish police officer pointedly ignoring pleas of help because of end of work shift.

Years ago when I slaved (yes, slaved) as a legal secretary and paralegal — and nurtured illusions that I wanted to be a lawyer (until I grew up) — there was a legal term that always stayed with me. It’s called respondeat superior. It loosely means that an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees. In plain English, if an employee defecates on a client’s floor, then the employer better damn well clean it up and make amends. And PwC accountants did take a magnanimous dump on Oscar night. As for making amends, the PwC Corporation figuratively sprinkled fragrant talcum powder about and called it a hiccup.

PricewaterhouseCoopers failed big time and, in the process, made fools out of all of us.