NBC’s Today Show on bullying-related suicide of Virginia journal editor Kevin Morrissey

NBC’s Today Show devoted a full segment (click here) to the July 30 suicide of Virginia Quarterly Review editor Kevin Morrissey (earlier posts here and here), reportedly due to workplace bullying.

Interviewees included Maria Morrissey, Kevin’s sister; Waldo Jaquith, a colleague of Morrissey who confirms that Morrissey was subjected to severe harassment on the job; and Lloyd Snook, the lawyer for Ted Genoways, the journal’s editor-in-chief who is alleged to have driven Morrissey to suicide.

Although I am glad that media coverage is drawing attention to this particular event and workplace bullying in general, I find it deeply saddening that it takes a suicide to shine a brighter public light on such a common and destructive phenomenon.

Fortunately, bullying-related suicides are rare, but what about the trail of clinical depression, post-trauma symptoms, and mangled livelihoods inflicted by this behavior that doesn’t make it onto the Today Show?

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Free article — Readers seeking an overview of workplace bullying and organizations may find helpful my 2008 article, “Workplace Bullying and Ethical Leadership,” available without charge here.

7 responses

  1. Pingback: NBC’s Today Show Examines Workplace Bullying « Minding the Workplace

  2. I barely survived this ordeal and know the debilitating effect it has on a person, and how it slowly and gradually erodes your self-esteem on a daily basis. I was an active person socializing 5 out of 7 days a week and became someone that lost their will to live. It started about my 11th year of employment and lasted until my 15th year when my spirit was broken. I cannot believe I cried in the Personnel Office, “I do not care if I live or die”. When you are self supporting you cannot just pickup and leave a job. I wish I had been able to, but by that time your self esteem is all but gone. It is 2 years since, and I am still not fully recovered. I will never get back what was taken from me. I am intelligent, attractive, and a kind person, and look what happened to me. Hearing about this suicide brought it all back.

    • One of the unfortunate things about coverage like this is that it can trigger memories for people who have endured this behavior. I’m very sorry to hear about what you endured, and thank you for reminding us what this is all about.

      When I did a short interview about the workplace bullying legislation on MSNBC a few weeks ago, a woman wrote me privately to say that she starting crying because it brought back all the bad stuff of a job she left many years ago. It was a kind and appreciate note, but I know that the experience of reliving some of that was very difficult for her.

      That’s why I find it so disheartening when people write off this behavior as just another instance of poor management skills. It’s about abuse, not lousy management.

  3. I forgot to add, “God rest his soul” for the suicide victim and his family. Workplace Bullying can and does take place. It is emotional abuse allowed to continue. A Bully can be male or female, short or tall, fat or skinny.

  4. This also brings memories for me. I had to take early retirement at age 53 due to years of being bullied by supervisors and managers. HR and EAP made me feel like everything was my fault and that I was crazy! Many times I would come home upset and I would feel suicidal. I can understand how Mr Morrissey felt. Bullying should be against the law.

  5. Pingback: Washington Post on the suicide of Kevin Morrissey, Virginia literary journal editor « Minding the Workplace

  6. I suffered internet bullying. It was the darkest moment of my life. It went on for several years behind my back. The website that was allowing it was a business website, which I was not a member of or participated in anyway. It led to total loss. One being a domestic assault spawned by comments made on the chat. When I addressed it, so much of it was untrue. The site had build up a way to get by with it through legal terms of service. It was a beating that they expected me to only shut up and take. It was ethically wrong and kharma has a way of making back. It was spurred by a jilted ex.

    NO, people do NOT have the RIGHT to do this. Defamation of character, liable AND slander along with terroristic threats and words that incite damaging actions. When the ex found out that my current relationship had roughed me up he was elated.

    NOW….anyone who thinks this is okay, go back to school and learn what forms of commmunications fall within that guideline of free speech. When you are out to damage others to get what you want, is a first sign you have gone TOO FAR..

    It hurts me to see that this man surccame to his pain, but I did not win either and that makes two wins for the wicked, malicous team that needs to be testaments that approaches to this vast wild west need to become more civilized.

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