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Grey, Not Blacklist

As the trustworthiness of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser disintegrates, I wonder if Kevin Drum is reconsidering his case for hotels blacklisting accused flashers and other “pervs.”

In other words, if we’re willing to take housekeeper reports of perv activity seriously — and we should be — there’s a pretty slim chance of blacklisting an innocent man. Still, it’s true: mistakes can happen.

After considering Megan McArdle’s objections, Drum hedges from his “zero-tolerance” stance:

So how about this instead: Get reported once and you’re given a warning. My guess is that if you just forgot to deadbolt the door, you’ll never forget again after that. Do it again and you’re blacklisted for a couple of years. After all, everyone deserves a chance to turn over a new leaf. So let them back in after two years, but tell them that a third strike means they’re banned for good.

For the record, I’m not commenting on whether I think DSK is likely to be actually guilty or innocent – I have no idea. I’m not even sure I disagree with Drum’s second proposal in light of the possibility that DSK is innocent. But this extreme case underscores the potential concerns with that type of policy. Hotel chains have a duty to protect their workers but need to ensure that their guests aren’t unjustly banned by and saddled with such a serious charge. Should they adopt a blacklisting policy?

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