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Outrageous remark … and downhill from there

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Everyone suffers from foot-in-mouth disease from time to time. This month, Kelly Osbourne, host of "The View," swallowed her entire foot. During a rant about Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, she said, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?” Gasp!

The comment deservedly drew a harsh reaction from co-host Rosie Perez, who is Puerto Rican, and Osbourne went on to backtrack, “I didn’t mean it like that! Come on, I would never mean it like that. I’m not part of this argument.”

While Osbourne’s racist remark—and the total lack of accountability for her actions—is enough to land her on the list of worst communicators, we want to extend the title to the producers of "The View" and Rosie Perez also. Why? After the incident, the producers allegedly forced Perez to apologize on-air—and she did.

So, to reiterate: Host makes ignorant, elitist, racist remark and fails to apologize. Producers force co-host to apologize for being offended. Co-host, rather than sticking to her beliefs, apologizes (and reportedly then quits out of anger).

How should the situation have been handled? Well, immediately, Osbourne should have been required to issue an apology to Perez and the rest of the world. And Perez should never have been forced to apologize. Finally, it sounds like the entire staff could benefit from some sensitivity and diversity training. 

Learn from this debacle and openly talk to your employees about language, jokes, comments and topics that could offend entire groups of people. 

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