Published On: Fri, Aug 2nd, 2019

A racist rant

By Hilbert Haar

The clip of the July 31 episode of Late Night with Andrew Dick is nowhere to be found anymore on the internet. The amateur-hour so-called comedy show – did you ever notice that Dick is unable to finish a single sentence in a normal way? – opened that day with a painful subject: The Daily Herald’s inevitable decision to fire Dick. This was of course going to happen sooner or later.

But Dick used his airtime to twist the story and to accuse Herald-management en passant of racism. In a message to his contacts he wrote: “I am committing myself 200 percent to Late Night and as of August 1, 2019 will not be with the Daily Herald anymore.” The Late Night host also told his contacts that he is looking forward to working with them in his future capacity “as I still remain a member of the media.”

No racism here yet, but that changed dramatically when he went on a rant in his Late Night show. Big mistake. As the Dutch like to say: Als je geschoren wordt moet je stil zitten.

Dick said in the show that he was called into the office of the Herald-managers “because my phone bill was too high.” Right, through the grapevine I heard that his phone bill was way north of 10,000 guilders.

I suppose that the Herald pays its reporters in good faith for the use of their phone. How anybody could manage to run up a bill so high in this era of Whatsapp and messenger that it becomes reason for immediate dismissal is a mystery to me. The Herald apparently asked telecom provider TelEm for an overview of the calls Dick made on his company phone.

I don’t know what they found there –endless conversations with his girlfriend during working hours or calls to numbers that charge a hefty price per minute for their services – but it was enough to conclude that the basis of trust had gone down the tubes.

I just learned the real reason for Dick’s dismissal: he bought nine phones on his Herald-account without permission from his employer. Since I cannot imagine anybody running around with nine phones, I figure that he sold them on the black market. It is pure theft.

Dick seemed to think that TelEm violated his privacy by providing his employer with details of the phone bill, but that is nonsense. If the Herald pays for it, it is entitled to know why the hell one of its employees ran up such a monstrous bill.

The hapless reporter said in his show that he immediately offered to pay the bill. And I thought: with what money? Do they pay you so much that you have, like, 12,000 guilders in your pocket? The Herald declined the offer and sacked Dick; maybe they did not want to be on the receiving end of a bad check.

Without explaining why this is so, Dick ranted in his show about the “racist management” at The Herald and he even called the publication a “racist newspaper.” While all those managers did was taking an inevitable management-decision; good for them, there is nothing racist about it.

Dick’s rant did not amaze me, because this is what people do when they have no valid arguments to offer. They play the race card – and in St. Maarten that always seems to go down well with people who have nothing better to do than watch Late Night’s poor attempts at humor.

But the problem is not about race. It is about understand labor relationships – and considering his garbled racist rant, Dick has no clue about such issues. Wat je zegt dat ben je zelf – what you say is what you are yourself – is an appropriate Dutch proverb in this context. By using skin color as a baseless argument, Dick showed his true colors: he is the real racist in this story.

Employment is a contract between two parties. The company agrees to pay a salary in exchange for work.  The relationship between employer and employee is based on trust: the employee expects to receive her or his salary at the end of the month and the company relies on its people to do their work with integrity and to abstain from abusing tools and facilities put at their disposal.

In the Daily Herald of August 1 appeared the following message: “Please note that Mr. Andrew Dick is no longer associated with The Caribbean Herald N.V. d.b.a. The Daily Herald. He does not represent the company, the newspaper or other related publications.”

In 2014 B&C Beverages, another of Dick’s former employers, published a similar ad, after the police had arrested Dick in June of that year on charges of embezzlement.

In 2016, a collection agency was after Dick at the request of Casino Royale where he had somehow managed to buy 10,000 guilders worth of casino chips with a bad check.

To predict future behavior, it is always a good idea to look at past behavior. It will give you a clear picture of the train wreck that is heading your way.

When Dick started working for the Herald, one of the first things he did was approach a local telecom provider announcing that he “needed a phone.” They laughed him out of the building – normal people who need a phone go to a store and buy one with their own money – and I don’t know if he had more success with his request at the competition.

Looking at a Late Night clip where Dick parades in a fancy outfit, I was not surprised to learn that one of the sponsors of this program is actually a clothing store. Now you know where he got that shirt, that jacket and that bowtie.

But the cream on the cake was Dick’s announcement that he is still a member of the media and “a licensed journalist.” That’s a rather ridiculous attempt at giving himself some credibility, because journalism happens to be a free profession. If you are hired by a newspaper and you start writing for them, you are a journalist. If they fire you – as the Herald did with Dick – you can no longer claim to be a member of the media – unless you start making an income from journalistic activities by, for instance, providing content to media outlets under your own steam. And licensed journalists? They only exist in Dick’s megalomaniacal imagination.

As far as all this is concerned, Dick has finally run out of options in St. Maarten. I am always wishing people the very best but in this case I’m waiting for the sucker who is prepared to give him his umpteenth second chance.

Screenshot Andrew Dick Whatsapp Broadcasts - 31 Jul 2019

Photo caption: Screenshot of Andrew Dick’s whatsapp broadcasts. Click on image to enlarge.


Related links:
Late Night with Andrew Dick show Wednesday, 31 July 2019 – removed
Late Night with Andrew Dick show Thursday, 1 August 2009
The Accountability of Journalists” by Hilbert Haar