What was Warren Beatty supposed to do? Ask a clerk

February 28, 2017

In the aftermath of the Oscars brouhaha, much has been made of the situation that Warren Beatty was put in. He was handed the wrong envelope, sent on stage in front of hundreds of people, knowing that he was being watched by millions of people on TV, and tasked with announcing the most important award of the night. And he discovered that something was wrong.

What was he supposed to do?

He was supposed to remain calm, indicate that there was a problem, and refer the issue back to the person in charge.

Just like a court clerk who is given a verdict to read who finds that there’s something wrong. Which has happened to me, which has happened to many other clerks.

When you’re in court, reading a verdict…We the jury in the above-entitled action find the defendant… the whole room watching you, hanging on your every word, and you discover that there’s something wrong with the verdict, you stop reading. You then step over to the Judge and indicate quietly that there’s something wrong.

You don’t stand there and wait for somebody to fix your problem for you.