Why Do We Really Hate Whistleblowers?

Why Do We Really Hate Whistleblowers?

EDI 365
Why Do We Really Hate Whistleblowers? Thursday, August 12, 2021, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm ET; Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, Director of Netflix Documentary All the Queen’s Horses and professor at DePaul University
  • Event Date: 
    Thursday, August 12, 2021 - 11:30am to 12:30pm
  • Event Location: 
  • Event Speaker(s): 
    • Speaker(s): Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, Director of Netflix documentary All the Queen’s Horses
  • Event Host(s): 
    The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Meet Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, Director of the Netflix Documentary All the Queen’s Horses1, who will be joining us on Thursday, August 12, 2021, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm EST. Her talk will focus on Why Do We Really Hate Whistleblowers?

Headshot of smiling Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope.

Dr. Pope is a nationally recognized expert in forensic accounting and white-collar crime research. In 2018, she gave a Ted talk titled “How whistleblowers shape history.”2 In 2020, she was named among the top 25 most powerful women in accounting by the American Institute of CPAs and the CPA Practice Advisor.

The following blog captures her thoughts on some of our most pressing questions about her research and career. Check out her responses below to get to know this speaker on a deeper level:

How did you get involved in a career related to whistleblowing?

I have always been fascinated by the courage exhibited by whistleblowers. I wanted to understand more about their decision-making processes and the factors that caused them to step forward with public information.

What are your biggest concerns about whistleblowing?

My biggest concern around whistleblowing is the fact that the public needs whistleblowers, yet we don’t celebrate their actions. The term has a very negative connotation and yet many historical events have been made known to the public through the actions of whistleblowers. If we don’t celebrate them, where would we be without the information they have shared?

Today, how do you feel public versus private organizations are handling whistleblowing?

Today, I think both public and private organizations have begun to celebrate the role whistleblowers play within their organizations. Therefore, I think people feel more comfortable coming forward with information in comparison to the past. The fact that we are discussing this topic in this event shows the progress we’ve made around the topic of whistleblowing.

We heard you are involved in some sort of interactive game that tests your knowledge on whistleblowing concepts. Can you tell us a little about that?

You are talking about Red Flag Mania! I could talk about that all day long! Red Flag Mania is an immersive investigative experience that places the player in a real-world scenario using true-crime cases to sharpen decision-making skills, fraud detection, professional skepticism, data analysis, and auditing. We tackle all these skills through a gamified learning experience that is reminiscent of a mixture between an escape room and the game Clue. Watch the video to learn a little more.

How did the documentary All the Queen's Horses come about?

I enrolled in a 6-month film residency program called Diverse Voices in Documentary with Kartemquin Films and developed the documentary. All the Queen’s Horses has screened in over 13 international film festivals, streamed on Netflix from 2018-2019, and received 3 ½ out of 4 stars from renowned film critic Richard Roper. Watch the film if you are looking for a great documentary that highlights the importance of a courageous whistleblower.

How did you get approached to do the Ted Talk on Whistleblowing?

My TED Talk started as a TEDx event at DePaul University. Once my TEDx talk was posted to the TEDx YouTube site, it went viral, and TED decided to promote my talk to an official TED Talk, and I became an official TED speaker.

What do you think discredits whistleblowers?

When the whistleblower lacks credibility, I think that discredits their message. If you are thinking about becoming a whistleblower, make sure you have the personal credibility to support the message you are sharing.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your whistleblowing career?

When I can help whistleblowers bring their stories to light through blogs, vlogs, or interviews, I feel like I have accomplished something.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I love to work out, play tennis with my family, and watch movies.

1Synopsis and information on where to watch the film can be found online.
2Her Ted talk can be found online.

Do you have a story idea for us? Do you want to submit a guest blog? If it's about equity, diversity, or inclusion, please submit to edi.stories@nih.gov.

For news, updates, and videos, follow or subscribe to EDI on: Twitter, Instagram, Blog, YouTube.