Sunday, September 24, 2023

What's Moral Turpitude Got To Do With It?

Isn't "turpitude" sufficient? Isn't "moral turpitude" somewhat tautologous? In any case, it is all about when one's morals take a deep dive into unrighteousness, depravity, debauchery, libertinage, villainy, dissipation... and so forth. And in some form of words or another, there is very likely a "morals clause" in your publishing contract.

Mirriam Webster gives a great list of synonyms, and one antonym.
The Cornell Law School provides a fine explanation of the phrase with regard to criminal law and legal ethics. It's all about consequences.
The immigration attorneys of  Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C., explain in fascinating and excruciating detail why "moral turpitude" is an enormous problem for would-be legal immigrants to or residents of the USA.

For example:
"Under U.S. Codes I.N.A. § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) and I.N.A. § 237(a)(2)(A)(i), just having a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude on your record can be used to dispute your visa or green card application. You may also be deported from the United States and have your visa or green card revoked."
They provide a must-see list of twenty-six examples of moral turpitude that is so offensive to the USA that one can be deported for it, and the list ranges from the obvious (murder, rape), to the rather surprising (prostitution, paternity fraud, theft...).

One is supposed to have been convicted of something (CIMT), that is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, before one's residency, employment, publishing contract et cetera can be suspended or terminated, but due process is not adhered to scrupulously in these Crucible days.

In some cases, an accusation, or a sustained scandal is sufficient cause for a publisher to invoke a morals clause and drop an author, as was pointed out by the Authors Guild in an important January 2019 article on why the AG opposes morals clauses in book contracts.

“In the event that Author is publicly accused of the violation of law, the infringement or invasion of the rights of any third party, inciting infringement or invasion of third-party rights by others, or is otherwise accused of libel, slander, or defamatory conduct, or any other conduct that subjects, or could be reasonably anticipated to subject Author or Publisher to ridicule, contempt, scorn, hatred, or censure by the general public or which is likely to materially diminish the sales of the Work, Publisher may terminate…”

Read more about the very important reasons why such clauses are unfair, rife for abuse, and likely to quash free speech here:

So, that's what moral turpitude has to do with all of us.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 



No comments:

Post a Comment