From time to time, a case crosses my desk that’s so incendiary, I wonder if we should even allow it to post on our help forum.
That’s what happened when Ambrose Terrence contacted me yesterday.
“I was assaulted on the Norwegian Epic by a deranged passenger,” he explains. “NCL refuses to supply me with any information, including the name of my assailant.”
A couple of possible red flags on this one. According to Terrence, he’s a 68-year-old man and the assailant is 35. It’s odd that you would know the age of your attacker but not the person’s name. Also, there’s no physical evidence of an assault, according to Terrence. That makes this case a little bit of a challenge.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t believe him. Just that there are maybe some issues.
The ship security staff lied over and over that they were conducting an investigation into the incident going so far as to refuse to even interview the witnesses who had volunteered to make statements.
I feel so helpless and angry that I was turned into the criminal by NCL.
Since I was not physically injured, no lawyer will speak to me, since they think there’s no money involved.
And that sets one last flag aflutter. Terrence doesn’t want money. He’s just “outraged” to be treated this way.
“I will greatly appreciate any suggestions as to where and how I might get help,” he says.
Well, we can certainly help with that. Here are the NCL executive contacts.
But beyond that, what should we do?
Some of our more cautious advocates say we shouldn’t allow someone like Terrence to publish these allegations on the help forum, let alone on this site. Even if these charges prove to be untrue, our right to publish them is protected under the First Amendment and supported by laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
A bigger question is: Should we monitor our forums and site more carefully, and only publish material that is proven to be true? Should we truth-squad every claim?
There are readers who feel that’s the responsible thing to do. A few weeks ago, for example, a reader misunderstood the terms of a credit card offer, and people were screaming at me for reporting his claims. Apparently, they think I should have read his mind before publishing his story.
I see their point, but I don’t agree. These readers are unhappy with more than just one source — they don’t want me writing about their beloved credit card, airline, or whatever institution I happen to be criticizing at the moment.
And that’s exactly the point.
I think this debate would be different if Terrence had named an assailant. But NCL is a big company, not a person. So I don’t have a problem with someone saying they found a bug in their airline meal or that they couldn’t get a “free” bag on their flight, and not asking the company for a response when we report it as an Advocate This! feature.
Would you erase a post like this? Or would you allow victims like Terrence to speak their mind in a public forum?