NASW sends letter to “Two and a Half Men” over Social Work Role
The CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” is in its 12th and final season. Recent episodes have featured an adoption social worker named Ms. McMartin (actress Maggie Lawson) who is helping Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher) adopt a foster child.
However, NASW is concerned over how this character portrays the social work profession and today sent this letter to “Two and Half Men” Production Coordinator Katie Jones:
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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest professional social work organization in the world with 130,000 members.
We congratulate “Two and a Half Men” for completing 12 successful seasons and for bringing its sometimes edgy style of humor to millions of Americans since 2003.
NASW also commends your program for addressing the issue of foster children and adoption in recent episodes. NASW and the social work profession are heavily involved in improving the lives of foster children and building families through adoption.
However, NASW is concerned by a recent storyline featuring adoption social worker, Ms. McMartin (actress Maggie Lawson). Social workers in the United States follow the NASW Code of Ethics which serves as a guide to the everyday conduct of social workers. The public can also hold social workers accountable for not following the profession’s Code of Ethics.
The Ms. McMartin character violates the NASW Code of Ethics by having a sexual relationship with Alan Harper (Jon Cryer). In addition, she violates the Code’s direction that social workers not enter into any situation that presents a conflict of interest.
As an association that represents the social work profession, we are concerned these recent “Two and a Half Men” episodes may harm the public view of members of a profession that promotes high ethical standards as it works hard each day, often against great odds, to protect children from abuse and neglect and help clients overcome life’s challenges.
We look forward to discussing ways we can address this issue possibly through a public statement from the show or public service announcement.