Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million after Gawker released a secretly recorded sex tape in which Hogan was a participant. Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million by a jury after some pervert found out where her room was and drilled a hole in the wall and recorder her while she was changing. Paul Walker’s daughter was paid $10.1 million by the estate of the man who was driving the car that Walker was riding in at the time of his death.
Some people are complaining that Tamir Rice’s mother shouldn’t be given the $6 million that Cleveland agreed to pay her family as part of a settlement.
Now, I am not saying that those mentioned above do not deserve the money they received. I think they should get every penny that is owed to them. Hogan lost endorsements and his job with the WWE as a result of the tape. Ms. Andrews is scared every time she checks into a room, and endured a humiliating invasion of privacy. Paul Walker’s daughter lost a father.
But look at those numbers – $115 million, $55 million, and $10 million. Now compare that with $6 million. $6 million is a lot of money, but it isn’t simply a payoff. It isn’t a “sorry for your loss, here’s a gift.” It is meant to be an acknowledgement – the Cleveland Police Department killed a boy playing with a toy gun, even after being told that it probably wasn’t a real weapon and that he was probably a juvenile. Call it racism, call it poor training, call it whatever. The fact is a boy that had the world in front of him was killed, leaving a mother to mourn her child. For those who believe that racism doesn’t exist in America, check out what many are saying about Tamir’s mother. And people wonder why the #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to gain momentum.
The point is not that these people were paid too much. In fact, I think Ms. Andrews deserves more. But so does Tamir’s mother. We are a free market society, and a sign of how much we value something is how much we are willing to spend on it. Why is the #BlackLivesMatter movement important? Because apparently society values a person’s reputation more than it values the life of a black child. And until that changes, there is work to be done.