As clear as I can tell, Becker & Poliakoff lawyer and out-homophobe Walter Kubitz, author of the now-infamous “gay plague of AIDS” email, still has a job. I’m not at all sure why. Becker & Poliakoff keeps saying that such divisive views about gays and lesbians do not reflect the firm’s “core values” and will not be tolerated… AND YET the firm clearly values Kubitz enough that he is still being tolerated by the firm.
Is Kubitz just a fantastic attorney that Becker can’t afford to lose? The man has been working for 30 years and still hasn’t made “shareholder” at the firm, so I don’t think he can be SO good that the firm just can’t do without him. What kind of power does this guy have? Jesus, does Kubitz have photos of Becker shareholders getting gay with Santa Claus? Maybe firm management doesn’t understand that pictures of them getting busy with each other at a firm retreat would be CONSIDERABLY LESS DAMAGING to the firm’s reputation than continuing to employ such a proud homophobe.
Becker just put up a statement on their website about the Kubitz situation. The statement doesn’t actually say what Kubitz did, doesn’t contain an apology from Kubitz, and hides behind religious toleration rhetoric when that’s not even the point of what happened here. Let’s give it a close read….
Statement of Becker & Poliakoff regarding the “all attorney” email sent on August 25, 2014
This past Monday, Walter Kubitz, an Intellectual Property attorney in our Northern Virginia office, sent a reprehensible email to all attorneys in the firm. His email was in response to a routine email sharing news about an important legal decision in Florida.
Mr. Kubitz’s remarks violated our firm’s email communication policy and our stated core values, which promote inclusion, openness and diversity. Of course, firm employees are entitled to differing opinions on religion and other subjects, however it was inappropriate for him to share such views in the workplace.
Gary Rosen, the firm’s Managing Shareholder and Richard Litman, the Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia office, have communicated clearly and directly to Mr. Kubitz that his rogue, disrespectful behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Becker & Poliakoff. We regret any harm caused by his misguided action.
Real brave of the firm there. They don’t say which “important legal decision” Kubitz responded to, nor do they get into the “other subjects” Kubitz talked about.
Apparently, firm management wants to make this about Kubitz’s freedom to share his “religious” views. But Kubitz went far past religion with his missive. Here is, again, what this man actually said: “For one, there has been a significant increase in sexually transmitted disease over the past few decades, with the gay plague of AIDS being a classic example.”
THE CAUSES OF AIDS ARE NOT AN ISSUE OF RELIGION! There are scientific FACTS about the transmissions of sexually transmitted diseases, and those FACTS tell us that such diseases are NOT CAUSED BY HOMOSEXUALS. THIS IS NOT A F**KING DEBATE. AIDS is NOT the “gay plague.” People who think that it is are crazy.
You can’t hide behind religion here. Either you employ people who call AIDS the gay plague, or you don’t.
Becker also says that Kubitz violated the firm’s “core values.” What the f**k use are those values if a lawyer can violate every freaking one and still have a job? Here are the alleged values of this firm:
Respect and Dignity: Treating our attorneys, staff, clients and colleagues with respect and dignity.
Take the High Road: Acting with integrity to achieve the highest ethical and professional standards in the practice of law.
Discretion: Protecting and respecting the privacy of our attorneys, employees and clients.
Professionalism: Going the extra mile to deliver high quality legal services, passionately represent our clients, and promote our Firm.
Objectivity: Avoiding conflicts of interest and providing sound independent advice to our clients.
Citizenship: Participating in professional, civic and charitable organizations to benefit the communities in which we live and work.
Teamwork: Creating a team mentality within practice groups, offices, and throughout the Firm.
Honest and Open Communication: Sharing strategies, ideas and experiences with each other and utilizing our collective resources to benefit our clients and ourselves. Handling difficult situations with candor and courage.
Responsibility: Following Firm policies and procedures and accepting responsibility for our own actions. Protecting Firm resources and assets to promote our practice and insure the longevity of our Firm. Requiring specific written engagement letters to confirm rendition of legal services and carefully adhering to risk management procedures.
Pride: Demonstrating pride in our profession and practice. Speaking positively about our Firm to our attorneys, employees and the public.
Look them over. Kubitz violated EVERY ONE of these “values”:
- Respect and Dignity: Kubitz suggests homosexuality involves the “reckless trashing of morality.” That statement does not respect other people’s private lives.
- Take the High Road: Is the “high road” to respond to a decision you disagree with by bashing gays?
- Discretion: Reply All = not discreet.
- Professionalism: When I’m looking for professional legal advice, Proverbs 11:21 is always the first thing I Westlaw.
- Objectivity: Hahaha. Yeah. I don’t think Kubitz has shown OBJECTIVITY to gay clients or gay opposing counsel. Hell, I don’t think you could trust Kubitz to be objective towards a person wearing a festive sweater.
- Citizenship: “For one, there has been a significant increase in sexually transmitted disease over the past few decades, with the gay plague of AIDS being a classic example.” Such rhetoric benefits no community, anywhere.
- Teamwork: Again, calling Kubitz a team player at this point is laughable, unless that team consists exclusively of heterosexual Bible thumpers.
- Responsibility: You know who hasn’t taken responsibility for his actions? WALTER KUBITZ, who hasn’t even been able to spit out a forced apology.
- Pride: If Becker & Poliakoff thinks that Kubitz has represented their firm with pride, maybe there are even bigger problems here.
Again, Kubitz violated every single one of Becker’s self-stated “values.” How is the firm still tolerating him? Because he mentioned God? Maybe Becker should just tell the truth about their firm values then:
At Becker, our core values can be pissed right out of the window if someone violates them from under the cloak of their religion.