Everybody hates Kristy

Kristy Fraser-Kirk has finally settled her $37 million claim against David Jones and its former CEO Mark McInnes. At last!

Sadly for her, she didn’t get that massive sum of money she wanted. Instead she received $850,000, which is still a lot of money. Never mind that she’s settled the case because Fraser-Kirk is not giving a single cent to charity.

What does that say about her character? In a statement, Fraser-Kirk says:

“I had asked the Court to award punitive damages, which was to go to charity, but as the Court will no longer be determining the case that’s no longer possible. I look forward, however, to participating in charitable work in the future.”

Pfft! What a lame excuse. Sorry guys, I would only give to charity if I got the sum I asked for, but since I didn’t I’m keeping it all to myself.

A cartoon by the Sydney Morning Herald’s cartoonist Cathy Wilcox explains this perfectly.

Well sorry Kristy, if you seriously cared about exposing sexual harassment in the workplace, you would have bettered your cause by perhaps giving some part of that money to an organisation or group that supports women.

A reader’s letter to the SMH probably explains it better.

“This is the latest distortion that has sadly affected Ms Fraser-Kirk’s credibility. First was the outlandish $37 million claim. ‘General damages in sexual harassment cases have never exceeded the low hundreds of thousands of dollars and ‘punitive’ damages are usually awarded in the low tens of thousands of dollars (if at all). Her claim can be viewed only as a poorly advised publicity stunt … To restore some credibility, she should donate some of the damages to charity. To say it is no longer possible is a distortion, and she knows.”

In a poll by the SMH, turns out most people agree that Fraser-Kirk was only out to get money.

Perhaps she was courageous (the other option) at first but any sympathy that I and probably many others had for her disappeared when she demanded $37 million, then asked David Jones to pay for her US holiday, and now this.

I hope she enjoys the money. She better save it because it’s highly unlikely any company will want to hire her now.

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Junk food akin to drugs, according to ad

The whole debate over junk food advertising and its link to childhood obesity is one that will never go away. In the Sun-Herald today, there was an article about a controversial commercial that has been released online, which you can watch here. It’s been quite popular with over 230,000 hits on Youtube.

The ad made by Sydney agency, Precinct Studios,  shows a mother preparing heroin. As she is about to inject her son, the scene changes to show him eating a hamburger. It ends with the message: “You wouldn’t inject your children with junk so why are you feeding it to them?”

The ad blames parents for the obesity epidemic saying feeding them junk food is like injecting them with drugs.  This view is backed up by the managing director of the agency, Henry Motteram who told the SMH “it’s not their fault. The more I thought about it, the more it came back to the parents every time.” He adds that giving junk food to children is the same as child abuse.

While I believe that parents hold some responsibility for what their child(ren) consume, feeding them junk food is definitely not like feeding drugs. That is, unless it’s their staple diet and they are eating nothing else. But that does not seem to be the ad’s position. The ad is advocating NO JUNK FOOD at all. There is nothing wrong with the occasional hamburger. I’m all for it.

Those who disagree with the ad like Karen Sims from lobby group the Parents Jury say that advertisers are part of the problem. “Parents cop the blame for childhood obesity but that’s simplistic view,” she told the SMH. “There are plenty of products which are marketed as being healthy when they are not. Then there are the products which make children believe the world won’t spin unless they have them.”

With the exception of the argument that advertising contain false information about being healthy (this is where I strongly support the outrage of parent groups), at the end of the day, parents have the final say. Using Sims’ terms, it’s simplistic to just blame advertising for creating overweight kids. The food industry is a business and companies need to market their products.

Parents should encourage their children to develop good habits including healthy eating from an early age. They don’t have to give in to the advertisers or their kids when they beg them to buy whatever it is they want. There are a lot more dangerous threats than junk food advertising outside and you can’t censor everything.