Suffering from: Reputation bankruptcy?

Mel Gibson's recent fall from grace raises the question of how long you should be accountable for really, really bad behaviour.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Reputation bankruptcy is rapidly becoming a condition of our time, given that even the smallest indiscretion makes it into someone's blog. Make a lot of stupid comments (or screw up a lot of deals, or, worse, be Mel Gibson) and that's a lot of bad hits on your Google engine - and, what's more, it's forever. Should the web be asked to forget and, more importantly, delete? The concept is brand-new, highly controversial and particularly appealing to people whose drunken behaviour at the Christmas party got posted on Facebook. 'I am declaring myself reputationally bankrupt' sounds so much better than 'I'm an idiot'. If a business goes south, we can draw a line under it and still face our neighbours. So now that everyone knows everything about everyone, should one be allowed to call it quits after 10 years and start again?

- Helen Kirwan-Taylor - helen@kirwantaylor.com.

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