Thursday

Chris Albrecht & HBO

Chris Albrecht fell on his sword yesterday.

Here's a guy who has been part of a team that has brought the best television has to offer over the past ten years, and for an incident that happened on a drunken evening, the guy's career is in tatters.

One wonders why Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld weren't all subject to the same kind of corporate relief?

According the LA Times article today, Chris has had a 'history' of this kind of behavior. But if one reads between the lines, the stories become a little odd - in the first instance, Chris is said to have had an affair with a fellow employee, who was also married - and after they broke up when he found out she was seeing someone else, he 'grabbed her by the throat.' $450K later, she had a settlement, which hasn't come out in the media until today.

I'm of the opinion that you can't hit a woman - you can't strangle them either - but I'm also of the opinion that people do stupid things, and since the incident happened in the workplace, I can't imagine Mr. Albrecht was really trying to strangle his former mistress, just acting out in a bad fashion. Is that worth $450K? Well, in light of the recent HBO much hyped bout, the payment is miniscule.

But then may we examine the events from the past weekend? Mr. Albrecht is caught in flagrant delicto - strangling his girlfriend in a parking lot, so badly that 'there were marks on her neck.' The arresting officer quoted Mr. Albrecht as saying "she pissed me off." The victim in the case, whom I won't name, but the LA Times chose to name, even though no crime was committed, because she refuses to press charges - is mute on the point. Why is she mute? Because it wasn't the first time? Or because she really did 'piss him off.' Odds are, she probably admitted to seeing someone else - and hence another neck lock by Mr. Albrecht, who can't help himself in these cases.

Now - lets talk about a matter of degree. In the OJ case, his rage and jealousy led to the results we all know about - for one side of the spectrum - but in the US Administration, when either the head of the World Bank gets his girlfriend a pay raise and a plump job, he refuses to accept responsibility for it. Or in the case of the Attorney General, who when caught lying on the subject of the recent political dismissals, refuses to step down. Why? Was it because "the finger marks" are not visible in either case?

I applaud Mr. Albrecht for doing what must have been a really difficult decision. I don't know him, never met him, but I know there's a long list of people in Hollywood who are making great livings based on his belief and faith in him. Here's a guy who not only hasn't been convicted of anything, but admits that he has a drinking problem, and is seeking help for it. It's not like he went off and called a police officer "sugar tits" or ranted about Jews causing all the wars. He obviously can't drink and hear bad news at the same time.

It may turn out that this is a serious problem for him, and that this was the best thing that could have happened in his life - it will force him to reflect on behavior and how he can turn it around. After all, it's not like he was seducing teenaged boys over the internet while in office in Washington, or profiteering from an illegal war.. but the guy made a mistake, has fessed up to it, and fallen completely on his sword. It's a rare act these days - in fact I can't think of anyone else in recent memory who has done so - and I'm surprised that the parent company didn't give him 30 days to straighten himself out, or go into therapy. However, in a town that has a severe short term memory loss, I'll predict that within a year, he'll have joined another company with media clout, and will continue to bring quality programs into our world.

But will anyone else from Washington follow his lead? My two cents.

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