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Thursday News: Rumors of an Amazon Phone; Creepy HS BBall Coach...

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So the relationship advise is misogynistic, creepy, and just bad. But is that enough to make him lose his job? Maybe as a guidance counselor but as the coach? What about the female authors who write erotic romance? Or let’s take On the Island which features a teacher/student relationship although any romance takes place after the student is of an age of consent.  Jezebel and Post Tribune/Sun Times

But Kohn is special and thus the judge imposing upon him the same standard she imposed on EVERYONE was really disgruntling. Instead of redrafting the brief, he decided to draw a cartoon where he and his daughter “explain” why the DOJ is so so wrong because they refuse to turn over evidence that Kohn believes will prove that Amazon is engaged in predatory pricing. Of course, Amazon is NOT a party to the suit but Kohn believes he is entitled to that evidence anyway.

Because, remember, he is special. Too special to file a comment during the public comment period (when he didn’t have a five page limit). Too special to file his brief timely. Too special to observe the five page limit afforded to every other party and amicus failing. Too special to redraft the brief.

Kohn’s argument is that piracy skews the ordinary supply and demand models and thus deserves special consideration.

Yes, Kohn is getting a lot of attention in the press and the establishment punditry class can’t stop gawping about how awesome this is. PW wrote, erroneously, that Kohn jabs the court for limiting the brief to five pages. No, wrong, wrong, wrong. Kohn could have (I repeat) filed a limit free brief/comment during the public comment period and choose not to do so. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of pushing a select narrative.The Digital Reader

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Speaking of lawsuits, I looked up the Harlequin suit and Harlequin will have until October 19, 2012 to file an answer or file a 12(b)(6) motion. According to the docket, Harlequin Enterprises Limited served on 7/20/2012 but the parties agreed that all the Harlequin entities would be deemed served as of August 13, 2012. I will, of course, post the answer when it is filed.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

32 Comments

  1. Ann Somerville
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 04:49:50

    Comparing the coach, Bryan Craig’s situation with an author of erotica is not comparing like with like. For a start, erotica is fiction, not a how-to guide. Second, if the erotica author indicated that she/he liked to abuse children or torture animals, or approved of it – not just that a character did – then I think it would be cause to examine whether that person was appropriate to be in contact with young people.

    Craig is what the Man Boobz site calls a ‘pick up artist’ – common features are treating women like commodity, extreme misogyny, and a total lack of interest in women’s agency, rights or dignity. I wouldn’t want him anywhere near a son or a daughter of mine, and removing him from such a position is appropriate. Do we need it to get to Sandusky levels before kids are put out of harm’s way? His book is more than a warning flag – it’s a plain statement of his mindset, and it makes him unfit to work around children or women of any age.

  2. joanne
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 06:03:46

    Freedom of speech carries duties and responsibilities and Craig’s written attitude makes me ill – but I’m willing to bet that that unless he has broken the morals code in his school contract he could be keeping his job. And certainly there are some attorneys who will be scrambling to defend his right to be an asshole.

    Common sense will be flying out the door and the only thing that keeps me sane in these instances is my faith that his teen aged female team members will spend a great deal of time pointing and laughing at the old guy with the pot belly.

    Ann Somerville said it best but I had to let some of my disgust out.

  3. Nadia Lee
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 06:17:12

    He has every right to write and publish the how-to guide. But that doesn’t mean he’s protected from the consequences of what he wrote/said.

  4. DS
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 06:33:14

    The amicus brief was 93 pages I read somewhere.

  5. Jane Litte
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 07:03:22

    1) This guy isn’t selling his book to these kids and there is no evidence that his relationship advice is making its way into the curriculum or his coaching.

    2) None of the kids felt threatened.

    3) If he wrote it under a pseudonym, he wouldn’t be in jeopardy but would still have those same opinions.

    4) Are we going to require screening questions for teachers to ask what their opinions are of women and men?

    @DS: So in violation of the federal rules as well which requires permission to file an overlength brief.

  6. Courtney Milan
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 07:48:59

    @Jane Litte: Re: Book written by coach.

    The book makes me uneasy, but I haven’t been able to parse out whether it’s simply because I disagree (vehemently) with him, in which case my disagreement is irrelevant, or whether my uneasiness is something that matters. It’s hard for me to separate out my emotions on this, so I suspect I’m not doing a good job.

    As for the Kohn “brief”… There isn’t a single assertion in the comic strip that makes a lick of legal sense, and those who think it’s “awesome” really need to ask themselves what they hell they are thinking. The first few pages start off with a dig at the judge for enforcing court rules. (Not even that–for loosening court rules to allow anything to be filed at all!) Federal judges just love it when parties jab at them in an unreasoned, illogical fashion. The rest of the brief is composed of crappy citations to cases from the 1980s, without any legal reasoning whatsoever, and jabs at the DOJ. Federal judges just love it when people grandstand in their courtroom for the purpose of bashing the other party. They think it’s the best thing ever when lawyers act like petulant, whiny babies in order to publicly grandstand, at the expense of the dignity of the proceedings.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with a comic book filing, but it actually has to be clever, and it has to make a real legal point. Lawyers file briefs in their capacity as officers of the court–to guide, to educate, to bring up points the court might not consider as their own. Doing something solely to collect high fives from like-minded wankers is an ethical lapse, and while I think it unlikely that the court would sanction Kohn’s ass, I wish they would.

  7. Marc
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 08:07:43

    With regards to the HS teacher the only question that should be asked is “Is he doing his job correctly?”. Even if he hadn’t written the book he may have still had those opinions just because it is out there in writing changes nothing in this case. Did he act appropriately with his students and behave in a professional manner? If he did then the book is moot and he should be allowed to continue to do his job. I can’t say I would be thrilled to know he was teaching my kids but I would use it as an opportunity to talk to them about the issues so they are armed with information that combats his foolishness.

  8. Ros
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 08:44:27

    He does cite his experiences at the school as part of his qualifications to write the book, so the two things are clearly related in his mind.

    There is a difference between asking screening questions about things which teachers keep private, and making decisions based on a book a teacher has chosen to publish.

  9. sao
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 08:55:18

    While cloud computing might be the dream of software producers paranoid about piracy, it requires a fast internet connection anywhere you might want to access the stuff in the cloud. That is just not a feature of my life, as I frequently explain to my software engineering sister.

    I like being off the grid and being able to write. It’s e-mail that kills my husband’s vacations. But he, too, doesn’t want his computer to be useless when he’s out of reach of the office. And of course for young people on limited budgets, that means long hours at places providing free wifi.

  10. Patricia
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 09:50:23

    My problem with the creepy counselor/coach’s book is that he apparently cites his on-the-job experience with women and girls–that would mean primarily the female students he works with–as the basis for his degrading opinions about women, and then he goes on to talk about how much he likes looking at their cleavage and camel toe. He has drawn a direct connection between his career and his book, so I don’t have a problem doing the same also. I absolutely would not trust this man to have a female’s students best interests at heart while working with her, as at least half of his brain power seems to be preoccupied with viewing her as a sexual object. As a parent, I would not want this man in any kind of position of authority over my daughters, nor dispensing “advice” to my sons, for that matter.

  11. Jody W.
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 10:31:50

    Speaking as a mom who has a female child with a male teacher right now…if I found out her teacher had published that NONFICTION book supposedly based on his JOB EXPERIENCE, you can f-ing bet I’d be down at the school making sure my child wasn’t going to be in that guy’s class anymore. HELLS NO. I don’t know that I’d insist he be let go, because I don’t know enough about the legalities, but I wouldn’t want my child anywhere near him.

  12. Anthea Lawson
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 10:33:27

    @Ros: I agree – the fact that the HS coach claims he spends time with ‘hundreds of the fairer sex’ (underage, may I add!) as part of his job, which qualifies him to write this book… that suggests that he’s creeping on those girls, frankly.

  13. Darlynne
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 10:44:51

    I am completely creeped out by the coach’s admission about his enjoyment of cleavage and camel toe (had to look that one up ffs). He’s the one who conflates that enjoyment with his experience of being around the “fairer sex,” specifically as the coach of teenage girls, and that’s what makes him unsuitable, imo, as a coach. His eyes, apparently, are everywhere except on the ball.

    More than anything, though, I am baffled that a man–as a coach who has been given a great deal of influence over and access to young women–wouldn’t see the inappropriateness of voicing those thoughts and advocating that kind of … You know what? Screw it. I’m with Ann and Joanne. The school board can’t fire his ass fast enough.

  14. Jennifer Leeland
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 10:49:53

    The sticking point for me with the HS coach is the term “non-fiction”. He is stating that he, a high school coach/guidance counselor, has enough expertise to write a book on how to get a man to fall in love with a woman. Therefore, he is stating his expertise is based on his job and life experience. If he uses this expertise in an offensive and disrespectful manner (which it seems he does) then yes, he needs to be taken off the job.

  15. reader
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 11:02:23

    “You submitting to your man can do a world of good. He won’t need to find a dip, he won’t feel the need to resent you, and he won’t feel the need to tell his friends your business.”

    An instruction manual for women? Reads to me like an instruction manual for men on how to become complete losers.

    If he hadn’t been put on leave, one would hope that all the parents would go in to pull their children from the classes, leaving him no one to teach.

  16. Ridley
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 11:43:58

    Jane, I know you want to be fair here, but teachers aren’t private sector workers. Female teachers can and have lost their jobs for writing erotic romance. They can’t moonlight as strippers, either. Part of their job is repping their school and their community, so what they do on their own time is sort of the school’s business.

    By writing this book, he’s shown that he’s a misogynist douchebag. Ignoring the students in this equation for a moment, would you want to work with this guy if you were a fellow teacher? What job out there protects you from getting fired when everyone you work with thinks you’re an asshole because of a high-minded thing like “freedom of speech?”

  17. Linda Hilton
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 11:49:09

    Re: The coach’s (bad) advice on love:

    Coaches and teachers and counselors are not only in positions of authority and influence, but they are also very vulnerable. All it would take is for one girl to level accusations against him and/or against the school, and it would be very difficult, I’d think, for either of them to mount a defense.

    His actions, therefore, demonstrate to me a remarkable lack of judgment, and that should be enough to justify his removal. His admission of his constant observation of “cleavage and camel toe” on young women, and the fact that he has no reticence in publishing his opinion suggests that, just like Jerry Sandusky, he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with what he’s been doing.

    Frankly, I’d have to wonder just what else he’s been doing.

  18. Erin Satie
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:12:08

    I think the coach sounds like a jerk, but I wouldn’t support firing him any more than I’d support firing an erotic romance writer.

    Whether I’m disgusted by the douchebag or someone else is outraged by the erotic romance writer, if the teacher knows how to compartmentalize – if he works at work and is a d-bag on his own time – I’m not going to join the lynch mob.

    We can’t fire all the jerks and the douchebags in the world. There are too many of them, if nothing else.

  19. meoskop
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:29:50

    I know teachers who have been fired for far, far less than this coach. Why he committed career suicide, I have no idea but he isn’t being honest if he is surprised by the reaction. I know teachers who have someone else buy their alcohol for them so no one will see a teacher drinking and complain to the school.

    I also agree with Linda Hilton that this is a giant red flag on what he may have been doing or be inclined to do. While I feel authors should be able to publish what they want, he’s tied his career to this text. He’s outlined his work as his personal life philosophy. Parents will never trust the guy, he’s destroyed his own credibility. He’s a coach and guidance admin – that’s way different than math teacher.

  20. DS
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:44:57

    @Jane Litte: I saw it stated elsewhere that the first rejected brief was 55 pages, which is still pretty outrageous. The Author’s Guild brief was 5 pages. Kohn is an attorney???? Douche move.

  21. TIna
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:45:36

    In New York State there is actually a morals clause for teachers who hold NY state certification. Anyone can swear a formal complaint against a teacher whom they perceive has committed an act that raises a question re: that person’s good moral character.

    Now, I am not sure what comprises ‘good moral character’ but there is a process in place and investigations and such. So it doesn’t have to be just about their job performance.

    Teachers of students in the k-12 arena are in a whole different kind of category from other folks. Their job is to work with people’s kids for 6 or more hours a day for 9 months of the year. You have to be able to trust that person implicitly. I’ve read one municipal teacher contract that requires medical and psychological clearance and proof of immunizations.

    I would imagine any sort of state mandated certification is going to require some level of personal accountability that goes beyond just job responsibilities.

  22. Janine
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:46:38

    Here’s the thing about Coach Creepy – for every douche who writes his icky thoughts, there are at least a thousand others who think similar things but don’t tell the whole world. I’m not convinced that’s enough reason for him to keep his job, though.

  23. Ridley
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:48:29

    @Erin Satie:

    We can’t fire all the jerks and the douchebags in the world. There are too many of them, if nothing else.

    Yeah, see, that’s not how it works. Assholes who can’t make good decisions get fired from jobs. Not always as quickly as their co-workers would like, but eventually. If an asshole keeps a job for a long time, it’s because he or she provides some sort of great value to the company/organization that outweighs the risk of keeping an asshole on staff.

    Putting your school district at risk for an indefensible sexual harassment suit when school budgets are as squeezed as they are is pretty stupid. So where’s the value he’s adding? What amazing contributions does a girls’ sports coach and guidance counselor make that outweighs the risk of a future lawsuit and/or the unmitigated fury of parents?

  24. Erin Satie
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 13:46:55

    @Ridley:

    If they’re making bad decisions on the job, sure. If they’re treating their colleagues badly, maybe. I don’t have any great faith in the weeding out of jerks on the job but I’d like to believe it.

    But one of things that I (and a lot of other people in the romance community) would argue about, say, a writer of erotic romance is that adults learn to compartmentalize. Just because you like to write about – or act out – erotic fantasies, doesn’t mean you can’t behave appropriately in a classroom.

    We have no idea if this guy has that ability to compartmentalize, and nobody’s stepped forward to suggest that he behaves inappropriately on campus. Personally, I don’t think it’s right to fire someone based on an assumption, or dislike of what they do/think on their private time.

  25. Ridley
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 13:55:09

    @Erin Satie: Did you miss the part where his book was non-fiction? And that he based his “knowledge” of women on his experience working with the “fairer sex?” And that he used his real name?

    He is the ideas in his book. He’s not on leave for thinking those ideas, though. He’s on leave for deciding to broadcast them, thereby letting everyone know that he’s a wicked creeper. You can’t compartmentalize misogyny and stupidity. That’s who he is. Why keep a stupid misogynist on staff?

  26. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 14:14:24

    I can’t get riled up over this coach’s book, at least not the examples given. He’s not writing “How to Seduce Underage Girls.” Those quotes aren’t as offensive as the ones I read in a recent Kristen Ashley review. Would anyone blink an eye at a romance hero who likes camel toe and submissive women?

    I was a high school teacher at one point and I write under my real name. If I go back to teaching, I’m concerned that my novels will be under scrutiny. I’ve written open-door sex scenes featuring teen characters. I could easily be seen as unfit or suspect.

  27. Linda Hilton
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 14:15:26

    @Erin Satie: You wrote: Personally, I don’t think it’s right to fire someone based on an assumption, or dislike of what they do/think on their private time.

    If the person is an accountant, a bricklayer, a purchasing agent for a hardware company, yeah, maybe okay. If people in those occupations want to write erotica or treatises on gender roles, as long as it’s legal, then fine. What they’re doing doesn’t in and of itself compromise the professional standards of an accountant, a bricklayer, or a hardware buyer.

    But a teacher/coach/guidance counselor is a whole different ballgame (pun intended).

    My son-in-law is a junior high teacher. His personal life can be as much on display as his classroom skills, and he knows it. All it takes is a suspicion, an accusation, and he’d better be prepared to refute it.

    A friend of mine umpires for several boys’ and girls’ baseball/softball leagues here in Arizona. He does not hesitate to bring any kind of “inappropriate” behavior to the responsible parties’ attention. It might be a coach who too often pats the girls on the fanny or even another umpire who makes remarks about a player’s looks. It’s just not going to be tolerated.

    This coach has put his personal philosophy of gender relations into the public arena. Given that his JOB is to work with young women, counsel them, advise them, teach them, unless his philosophy mirrors that of his administrators and school board, he should be fired. He is not just writing fiction; he’s advocating a specific “lifestyle,” one in which (apparently) women should be submissive sexual objects.

    Yeah, right.

  28. Erin Satie
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 14:54:18

    I think an erotic romance writer SHOULD be able to publish under her own name – if that’s what she wishes – and not be penalized for it. Not an awesome idea, admittedly, but it shouldn’t cost her her job. So I’ll give this guy the same allowance.

    Which leaves me wondering whether he should be fired for his views. OK, what views?

    – Admitting that he’s ogled teenagers. Skeevy? Yes. But I don’t think we should fire every male high school teacher that has ogled his students – I think it’s a test that most of them would not pass. Do I think he should be fired for admitting to something most of his colleagues are guilty of? Not really.

    – Admitting that he thinks women should be submissive in a relationship. I might enjoy this, privately – but as a matter of policy? It’s not possible. There are too many communities that preach this ideal (I have been to numerous weddings where the priest made similar comments during the ceremony), too many people who proudly believe it.

    I’d like to help create a world where such views aren’t common, but I don’t think it’s right to fire someone for holding such a common, widespread belief; one that is, unfortunately, often absorbed right along with mother’s milk.

  29. Marc
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 19:49:41

    You folks obviously had better teachers than I did in high school. I can think of at least a half a dozen teachers that I had that should not have been teaching – EVER. Did they write a book and get put on leave, no. They continued to teach and torment students. To me unless there is evidence, not just a article about a book that I haven’t even read myself, that he is abusing his position in these kids lives then this whole thing is just a witch hunt to make headlines. He wrote a non-fiction book, people are offended, the outrage. As parents it would be our responsibility to talk to our kids about it and see if it really is an issue. He might be the most popular teacher at the school, the kids might love him because he doesn’t BS them. If he signed a morality contract and the book violates that then he deserves whatever happens but baring that I have heard and experienced much worse in the wide world than a book that likely would not have been very popular without all this hype.

  30. Elf
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 11:36:24

    Guidance counselor/teacher: I, too, have a problem with the “non-fiction” descriptor of this man’s book. I’m especially troubled that he mentions he’s the only male counselor at the school – who is balancing this man’s viewpoints?

    “I coach girls basketball, work in an office where I am the only male counselor, and am responsible for roughly 425 high school students a year, about half of whom are females,” Craig wrote. “Suffice it to say, I have spent a considerable amount of time around, and with, the fairer sex.”
    http://posttrib.suntimes.com/photos/galleries/14860018-417/hs-girls-hoops-coach-put-on-leave-after-penning-graphic-book-on-sex-women.html

    How many young girls are self-conscious enough to take an adult male’s opinion (e.g., the voice of experience) as gospel truth? I don’t care if the girls that the newspapers found all say he’s funny and helpful, what about the less-outgoing girls that quietly took his casual misogyny to heart?
    Also, what’s the difference between this example and an office worker tweeting something racist, misogynist, or anti-gay, or heck – even kinda-sorta “anti-employer” – and getting fired?
    Freedom of speech does not relieve a person of the duty of one’s job (to represent an employer even off-duty, or to use common sense), nor does it inoculate a person from consequences. (Also, freedom of speech applies to gov’t-citizen interactions, though even government workers can have their speech limited according to the requirements of the job – see the SEAL team member’s bin Laden book).
    -elf

  31. Darlynne
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 13:18:11

    I would be on a different side if a teacher/coach had written an erotic novel; I’d be declaiming his/her right to write from the rooftops.

    Here, though, we’re talking about a non-fiction book called It’s Her Fault that–even though Amazon won’t reveal anything beyond the chapter links–is written by a married high school girls’ basketball coach who claims that his direct experience with women makes him uniquely qualified to write a how-to manual. He recommends targeting young ladies with low self-esteem; he admits that he is fascinated with cleavage and camel toe.

    Lemme think: Where does he have the most contact with all of the above?

    This is so many shades of wrong, I don’t even know where to start. That he can’t see the disconnect between his responsibility to his students–the very young ladies he coaches and counsels–says more about him than this ridiculous book. I hope he has his day in court or whatever comes next; his own words will be his undoing.

  32. Robin L Rotham
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 14:40:14

    @Darlynne: Hear, hear! This guy has publicly proclaimed he has very little discretion, less emotional maturity than most of his students, and zero empathy or respect for either women or men, and he clearly feels called to teach his moral attitudes to whomever will listen. I believe the school board would be remiss in not reassessing his value as both a counselor and a coach.

    My opinion as a mother and a submissive is that he’s a narcissistic mysogynist who knows f**k-all about either the the empowering nature of submission or the responsibility of being a dominant. He’s publicly proclaimed he doesn’t know the difference between falling in love and being a slave to his dick, and I feel sorry as hell for his wife.

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