Ethical Issues in the Insider

Topics: The Insider, 60 Minutes, Brown & Williamson Pages: 2 (723 words) Published: November 27, 2012
Ethical Issues in The Insider

The Insider is a 1999 movie based on real-life events that happened within an unaired 1994 episode of 60 minutes on CBS. Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, played by Russell Crowe, was the Vice President of Research and Development for the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation and was not satisfied with the way that the third largest tobacco company was going. Wigand was then fired when he began to voice his personal opinion about how he did not agree with how the company was adding various chemicals to make cigarettes even more addictive then they already are. Lowell Bergman, played by Al Pacino, was the producer for 60 Minutes and comes into play when he sees how Wigand has a story to share with the world. Wigand ultimately decides to tell his story, which has its consequences. Even despite the risks Wigand took by taping this interview, CBS eventually decided to not air the episode due to the fact that Brown and Williamson could file a lawsuit. There are several ethical dilemmas between the men and the companies, but there are three that are most essential. The first one is how Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation is extremely determined to keep their research about nicotine concealed from the public. They do not want the negative health effects of nicotine to be known, or they would lose their customer loyalty. It stated that the tobacco companies spend over $500 million a year just on a legal team alone and have never lost a lawsuit, despite all the customers who are suffering from illnesses linked to the product. Their money hungry attitude was also displayed when they fired Wigand immediately after he disagreed with the company. They then threatened him and his family and filed a suppression order to make sure no more information was leaked about the company’s products. This issue should have been handled long before Wigand wanted to voice his opinions. They should not have used all their power to hide the information. The...
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