Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another Slap In The Face

The Cruise-line industry has rendered another slap in the face to the family of George Allen Smith IV. The latest comes at a Miami convention:
Carnival Cruise Lines President Robert Dickinson called the disappearance at sea of honeymooning cruise passenger George Smith IV "a non-event." Smith disappeared on a Royal Caribbean International ship in July during a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea.

Dickinson suggested the panel refrain from discussing the Smith case.

"I hate to see you talk about it because you're giving it legs," he said about the story. "It has nothing to do with safety on cruise ships."

Robert Dickinson, you're an idiot. Your insensitive remarks regarding the tragic death of George Smith IV do more to give the story legs than an open discussion among your fellow executives would have. Thank you for being so callous.

I wish I had the ability to categorize my blog entries. This one would definitely go under Jackass.

PS to Royal Carribean: I think you underestimate the strength and determination of two women -- George's sister, Bree Smith, and his widow, Jennifer Hagel-Smith. These two should put their differences aside. Together, they'd be a force to be reckoned with.

Update: March 17, 3:35 pm, CT

George Smith's family has gotten wind of Mr. Dickinson's comments regarding their son's death. They're demanding his resignation. So far, they've gotten an apology.

Update: March 18, 2:50 pm, CT

My mistake. They've demanded his immediate termination, rather than his resignation.

After learning about Dickinson's remarks, Smith's parents and sister wrote a scathing letter to Carnival's board of directors, asking for a public apology and his immediate termination.

"These statements are despicable," wrote George and Maureen Smith and their daughter, Bree. "His view that George's murder is a 'non-event' is definitely not shared by George's family and friends . . . George's murder is not 'entertainment' to those of us that miss him and mourn his loss every day."

The Smiths pointed out that the FBI and Congress have spent millions of dollars investigating the matter and cruise-ship safety in general "so that similar 'non-events' do not happen to other cruise-ship passengers."

Good for them. I wonder if the response they got provided any satisfaction:

Dickinson issued a statement yesterday saying he regretted causing pain to the family of the 26-year-old Connecticut man.

"My comments were within a larger discussion on cruise industry issues and were not meant to minimize the tragedy of George Smith's disappearance," he said.

I'm not sure it would do much for me, but it probably saved Dickinson's job.