Bad enough that Michael Callahan, Yahoo's top lawyer, and Jerry Yang, the company's CEO and cofounder were raked over the coals today by a House committee for the company's role in the imprisonment of Chinese journalist Shi Tao. But Yang suffered the additional indignity of getting the Congressional tongue-lashing on his 39th birthday. Happy birthday, Jerry! Turning 40's going to look easy by comparison.
Yang had to withstand more than an hour of condemnation from members of Congress, chiefly Tom Lantos of California who led the session, before even having a chance to speak. Yang was then forced to bow to Shi Tao's mother who was in the front row and in Lantos's words "beg forgiveness." Committee members unleashed their rhetoric, calling Yahoo's actions "spineless." Congressman Lantos went so far as to personally indict the two executives:
Morally you are pygmies... An appallingly disappointing performance. I think we cannot begin to tell you how disappointing Mr. Yang's and your performance was.
But I bet Yang got his wish — for this whole ordeal to be over.