I wrote a few days ago about long-time co-host of the public radio show On The Media for ‘bullying’. He issued a statement on Twitter saying that he had been fired not for “bullying, per se but for yelling in 5 meeting over 20 years” and that “the provocations were just shocking. In time the story will emerge and it is tragic.”
So I listened on Friday to the first show after the firing. Co-host Brooke Gladstone spent a couple of minutes at the beginning about the case.
She said that she could not fully reveal all that transpired, presumably because of legal reasons. But she did say that Garfield had been fired after warnings and other efforts at amelioration for a pattern of bullying behavior that went well beyond yelling on five occasions, and that the entire staff agreed with the decision to fire him. That looks bad.
This puzzles me. I had been surprised by this since he seemed to be a genial presence on air. He also seemed to have positive views on social issues and struck me as the kind of person who would be sensitive to issues of bullying or other forms of aggressive and intimidating behavior towards subordinates.
So why did he behave this way, even after being warned in 2020 and receiving other forms of feedback that his behavior was not appropriate? Could he just not control himself? Did he so lack self-awareness that he was deluding himself that he was acting appropriately? Or did he, as sadly is often the case, think that he was too important to the enterprise that they could not function without him and thus that the rules did not apply to him?
Whichever it is, it does not reflect well on him.