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Is Lawyer's 'Ku Klux Coors' Facebook Photo an Ethics Violation?

By George Khoury, Esq. on January 10, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One lawyer is facing some serious backlash after posting a racist meme to their Facebook that was intended as a joke and a test.

The photo depicts three Coors Light beer cans wearing KKK hoods fashioned out of those white paper drinking cones. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Coors Light cans are, impliedly, hanging a brown bottle of beer. And while his actions have raised the ire of the public, the lawyer is unlikely to face any official sanction or discipline, as Connecticut, his state of licensure, does not have a rule prohibiting such conduct for attorneys.

Is Racism an Ethics Violation?

Generally, just because someone is a racist, that does not mean they have committed an ethical violation. However, when racist views are expressed publicly, or, worse, acted upon, depending on the rules of professional conduct applicable to the state, an ethical violation can materialize. In Connecticut though, which has not adopted the ABA model rule, unless his post was tied to the representation of a client, it is outside the state's rule prohibiting discriminatory conduct by attorneys.

The Connecticut, racist-meme-posting attorney has faced mounting criticism and was put on blast by the NAACP. He claims that he posted the image after a friend alerted him that Facebook took it down off their page, and he wanted to see if Facebook would take it down on his as well. Facebook did.

And rather than issuing a sincere apology for posting the meme, learning a lesson, and leaving it at that, he claimed that the "P.C. police disgusts" him, and that he was "done with Facebook." However, digging into his history some, that sort of response isn't so surprising.

When recently-elected Rashida Tlaib, the first American-Palestinian Congressperson in American history, expressed her enthusiasm to stand up against the powers that be "speaking truth to power," this Connecticut lawyer posted on social media and asked her, "No suicide bombing?"

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