We all scream

We all scream

Racially insensitive ice cream social invitations spark controversy at City Hall

By André Coleman 08/22/2013

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How could an otherwise happy occasion like an ice cream social go so wrong?   
Last week, invitations were emailed for City Manager Michael Beck’s Fifth Annual Ice Cream Social, to be held today.
However, what Beck did not know was the invitations contained what many City Hall workers considered to be a racially insensitive depiction of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old African-American man who was shot to death on Jan. 1, 2009, by a Bay Area Transit guard while being detained on the landing at Fruitvale Station. 
Grant’s killing sparked protests around the country. Johannes Mehserle, the BART guard who shot Grant, was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months in prison.
The invitation to Beck’s party contained illustrations for each stanza of the child’s verse, “You Scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream.”
The image of Michael B. Jordon, the actor who played Grant in the critically acclaimed film “Fruitvale Station,” about Grant and the incident that claimed his life, appeared under the portion marked “I scream,” with the image of Jordan in character squarely occupying the center of the online document. 
The “You scream” portion of the invitation was depicted by a scene from the movie “Pacific Rim,” and the “We all scream” portion was represented by a scene from “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” In the invitation, a red and white ice cream bar is photo-shopped into Jordan’s hand.
However, shortly after the invitations were sent out, complaints came pouring in. After that, the Human Resources Department, which sent out the invitations, issued an apology letter to city employees.
Beck said he did not approve the invitation before it was emailed to employees and ordered that it be redone and that an apology be issued. 
The poster was later replaced with images from “Monsters University,” “Turbo” and “Despicable Me 2.” 
“The flier had not been approved by the City Manager,” states the apology letter sent out by the Human Resources Department. “In fact, once he [Beck] saw it he had it immediately changed.” 
“The original poster was not intended to offend anybody,” Beck told the Weekly. “It was for an opportunity for people to gather and interact together and the poster did not represent that or the value of the organization and as soon as it went out it was replaced with a substitute one until a suitable one could be done.” 

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But tell us Andre, WHO DID produce the politically incorrect flier, and WHO actually approved of its production (apparently with taxpayer cash)?

If the manager's office doesn't want to give out this information, then chances are, it was also complicit in its production. Hell man, you just gave us an excellent example where Beck's office just wasted at least a couple of hundred of dollars of the public's cash. Why not also talk about how frequently this issue happens, and also who doesn't have to pay for the FU?


posted by DanD on 8/22/13 @ 01:22 p.m.

Dear Council, stop hiring people from the IE, it's just not working out well.



posted by morris101 on 8/22/13 @ 09:11 p.m.


So now Disney, Dreamworks, and Universal/Illumination are going to be pissed off.

Here's a thought, City Hall: don't rip off ANY photos at all when you send out invitations.

posted by grecodan on 8/23/13 @ 07:37 a.m.

City Manager Michael Beck is an honorable and sensitive man. I applaud his quick and efficient resolution of this unfortunate and hurtful error.

posted by TurnersTwoCents on 8/23/13 @ 12:42 p.m.

Yeah, but Pasadena's taxpaying public still has to finance the resolution of this Beck administration's FU ('cause it certainly won't come out of any more private wallets that actually composed -- or initially gave the go-ahead for -- the original stupidity).


posted by DanD on 8/26/13 @ 11:04 p.m.

Michael Beck is NOT--repeat NOT---to be trusted WITH ANYTHING at Pasadena City Hall. This racially insensitive screed shows just how out of touch he is with his own staff. Pasadena residents are tired of the screw ups, fiscal mismanagement, and arrogance of Michael Beck. ENOUGH!! Let's get somebody in here who won't sell us out.

posted by Pasadena Watch on 8/27/13 @ 09:20 p.m.

Is there anyone hired by the government who steps up to the plate and says, "It's my fault. It's my responsibility. I'm the boss and the buck stops with me". In leadership, Dear Mr. Beck, that is what makes the criticism stop. You may not have reviewed and approved. . . but you should have. And, if you don't, they shame on you. It's your responsibility. And, yes, he is insensitive and he needs to go back to Riverside.

posted by Paul G on 8/29/13 @ 04:05 p.m.
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