Barra Backs Out Of Appearance To Accept National Award Amid Outcry

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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barra backs out of appearance to accept national award amid outcry

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who was to appear at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., opted not to appear to receive an award amid outcry from those affected by the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Autoblog reports Barra was set to receive the Katherine Graham Living Legacy Award from the National Women’s History Museum in the nation’s capital, a national award that honors the achievements of women. However, representatives from both GM and the museum both confirmed that Barra would not appear as planned after word of the award reached the automaker’s critics, and the families of those affected by the ignition switch at the center of the February 2014 recall.

Laura Christian, whose daughter was killed in a 2005 accident linked to the defective switch, approved the decision by the museum, stating that for it to give an award to Barra would be “a slap in the face” for her, her family “and many others actively grieving.”

Another critic, the National Legal and Policy Center, sent a letter asking the National Women’s History Museum to rescind the honor, as it would undermine the work accomplished by the museum in so doing. As for Barra, president Peter Flaherty said she should “focus on GM’s remaining safety problems before travelling around the country to accept awards.”

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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23 of 87 comments
  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Nov 14, 2014

    The caveman is strong in these comments threads. And believe it or not the most caveman comments aren't the ones about her appearance (although c'mon guys... numbers from 1 to 10... really? That's not how attractiveness works). They're the ones calling her things like "Little Miss Mary" or calling her a "token." And from my perspective, she's done an admirable job of trying to get out in front of this stuff. Her real merits as CEO, though, won't be clear until the first products developed under her watch start showing up, which won't be for another couple of years. She's pretty cute too. I like her style. But that has nothing to do with her merits as CEO, or lack thereof.

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    • Petezeiss Petezeiss on Nov 14, 2014

      @petezeiss No, but I was a property manager and used my Stanza to push empty dumpsters into place when the drivers dropped them off goofy. That almost qualifies, right? I shouldn't sell myself short here.

  • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 14, 2014

    I applaud Ms. Barra's decision to opt out of appearing and accepting the award, IF this was indeed her decision. It may also be that she was un-invited by wide acclaim. And while I do not hold Ms Barra personally responsible for all of GM's woes since time immemorial, I find it hard to accept that GM is deserving of ANY awards, ANYwhere, and certainly not at this time. GM is, after all, a company that died, hastened to death by UAW incessant demand for higher wages and more lavish bennies, was bailed out at taxpayer expense and great loss, that continues to delight America with revelations of ever more recalls and engineering failures. I am gravitating more to the side that sees Ms Barra as being a tactically-placed scapegoat for all disastrous GM failures prior to her tenure. Certainly a strategic move on the part of her predecessor and GM BoD to appoint her to the position, knowing full well that everyone in the chain from Congress on down is going to go easy on a woman in charge of GM.

  • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 14, 2014

    I applaud Ms. Barra's decision to opt out of appearing and accepting the award, IF this was indeed her decision. It may also be that she was un-invited by wide acclaim.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 15, 2014

      @highdesertcat Johnster, that is a novel idea but I don't think that has ever happened in the history of GM where its CEO earned their money. Now if going before the US Congress and begging for handouts, bailouts and nationalization is earning their money, yeah, you got me there. I would call it self preservation for GM and the UAW.

  • Akear Akear on Nov 14, 2014

    MILF charm.

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    • Lie2me Lie2me on Nov 14, 2014

      @28-Cars-Later "No...Wire...HANGERS, Whack!"