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Another “Freakonomics” Mishap

A few days ago, we blogged about a college kid who got kicked out of class for citing Freakonomics. Now comes even worse news — from a reader who claims that he was asked to leave the premises of a job for simply owning the book. I’m somewhat skeptical of the verity of this story; judge for yourselves:

Mr. Levitt and Mr. Dubner,

I work for a company that provides software solutions for Fortune 500 media corporations. This past week I was on site at one of these media companies and took part in a conversation about crime. I happened to have read Freakonomics on the plane ride to my client and mentioned in the conversation that I had just read the book and that the other two people I was having the conversation with should read the book. After describing a few things in the book the individuals had indicated that they would be interested in reading the book. Having finished the book, the next day I brought the book in to give to one of the individuals. I had placed the book next to my computer as a reminder to give the book to the individual when I saw them.

Later that day, I was running around solving technical problems for the client when I was asked to join two directors and the HR manager in an office. One of the directors, in a very angry tone, proceeded to question me on why I would bring racially offensive material into their office. They cited that an employee turned to page 63 and read the words “those early lynchings worked” and were offended by them. I was asked to leave the premises immediately.

I have since returned to work back at my company and I’m waiting to hear what action, if any, will be brought on to me by my company due to this unfortunate event.



P.S. I apologize for the generality of my email, but I feel this is the only way to pass on this story to you without getting me into further trouble in the future.