Bill Murray has rightfully earned his place in golf as a master of mirth, not only as groundskeeper Carl Spackler in Caddyshack, but also with his antics each year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Golf expects zaniness from Murray, but how far does it go before that humour offends people?
Murray appears to have a better idea now, after an incident a little more than a week ago when a complaint of inappropriate behaviour against him led to production of the film Being Mortal being shut down.
Details about the incident have yet to emerge, but Murray told CNBC that he did something that he thought was funny, but it wasn’t taken that way.
Murray went on to say the incident was an “education” for him, that times change and he needed to figure it all out.
You can watch the CNBC interview below.
Without knowing the details of the incident, it’s impossible to say if Murray crossed a line or not, but his recognition that things that were funny when he was a kid aren’t necessarily so now and that other people’s feelings are important considerations are a step in the right direction to resolving the situation.
Murray isn’t the only person trying to figure it out. In his case, how does a funnyman fire off a joke while realizing there could be consequences if he offends somebody?
It’s no laughing matter when production of a film is shut down, nor is it funny when any other business has to deal with a similar situation, especially if such a complaint goes outside of the workplace for resolution, or leads to somebody being dismissed, especially these days with good employees difficult to find.
The situation may seem innocuous in one person’s eyes, but quite the opposite to somebody else, but “It was just a joke,” doesn’t cut it as an excuse anymore.
The Murray incident is not being used to judge him, but rather to illustrate how serious a seemingly innocent incident can get. Murray didn’t think it would happen to him and maybe, business owners and employees feel the same way … until it does happen to them.
In an industry such as golf, many businesses want to encourage camaraderie and a fun atmosphere, but the line that that someone can cross into what some would label offensive behaviour is constantly moving.
It isn’t difficult to get caught on the other side of it these days.