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Albrecht Incident a Chance to Shed Light

May 14, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The events surrounding the dismissal of Chris Albrecht as chairman and CEO of HBO last week were both unfortunate and sad.

They were also troubling in one particular aspect that we hope can eventually lead to some enlightenment.

Last Friday, Mr. Albrecht pleaded no contest to charges of battery against his girlfriend. They had a well-publicized altercation in the wee hours of the morning May 6 in Las Vegas after HBO had presented the pay-per-view fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Two days before the plea, HBO and parent company Time Warner had asked Mr. Albrecht to resign from his position.

HBO and Time Warner, perhaps mindful of legalities, were circumspect in what they did and did not say about why they had asked Mr. Albrecht to resign. What can be said is that they acted relatively quickly and forcefully.

For his part, Mr. Albrecht said that the battery occurred because he resumed drinking two years ago after being a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 13 years.

Mr. Albrecht’s track record in this industry as a smart, creative executive is unassailable. We are sure it was not pleasant for him to go public with his disclosure of falling off the wagon and his problem with alcohol.

But there is an additional element to this story that we found troubling.

Last Wednesday, the day Mr. Albrecht was asked to resign, the Los Angeles Times claimed in a story that Mr. Albrecht had been involved in another incident that involved battery against a previous girlfriend in 1991.

But for whatever legal and good reasons they may have had last week, neither Mr. Albrecht nor HBO nor Time Warner even hinted that violence against women had anything to do with his dismissal.

It certainly can be argued that these two events, 16 years apart, do not represent a pattern. Still, we would hope that Mr. Albrecht, whom we have long admired, might at some point address the question.

And perhaps he would even choose to do it with HBO.

HBO has a storied history of documentaries and other programming about various social ills.

And violence against women is a significant problem today.

Out of the cheerless events of last week, we would urge Mr. Albrecht and HBO not to miss an opportunity to shine some light into this dark corner of societal behavior.

9 Comments

  1. Oh, give me a break. Who knows Albrecht except the industry and who cares? What is it with you people and the need to know every thought, action, deed, miniscule bit of information, etc. It is none of your business! Every person has a right to some privacy. Especially when an action has hurt no one but themselves. Contemplate what you are really entitled to know.

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