I teach an Old Hollywood history adult education course. Experts generally view 1939 as Classic Hollywood’s peak year and I consider Gone with the Wind the epitome of spectacular filmmaking. When my family visited Richmond, Virginia, decades ago – the capital of the Civil War Confederacy – we saw a midnight screening. I was seven and forever hooked on the film.

In one scene, a married Ashley Wilkes, played by Englishman Leslie Howard, rejects Scarlett O’Hara’s advances because of his code of honor. Reputations were and are fragile and not so easily restored once gone.

In our modern uncivil society, many people carelessly sabotage not only their own, but also other people’s reputations. They are entitled to for themselves, but not for others.

Since 1995, gaming’s two main faces have consistently addressed their era’s specific challenges. Veteran attorney Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. led the American Gaming Association (AGA) until 2013, followed by Geoff Freeman. Both have aimed to elevate public perception of gaming as a credible industry of credible people.

Freeman recently spoke at the 21st East Coast Gaming Congress. I have attended them all and witnessed how changing seminar topics reflect gaming’s accepted expansion into mainstream America. Indeed, several speakers noted that Donald Trump’s prior casino ownership never even surfaced as a factor during the 2016 campaign.

Although I disagreed with some seminar commentary, the panels included prominent professionals. Their expertise and commitment to honest operations in emerging areas like online, sports, e-gaming and other technology-driven categories reinforces gaming‘s legitimacy.

That uplifting conference followed yet another unfortunate encounter with an uninformed relative. Readers may remember last summer when I spoke of “Steve” critiquing then-candidate Trump’s qualifications because he was a former casino owner.

Steve again showed how unaware he is by claiming that in addition to gambling, Las Vegas Sands Chairman/CEO Sheldon Adelson derives part of his Chinese wealth from prostitution. What?! Anyone who has listened to the 83-year-old Adelson knows his personal distaste for gambling since his own parents had issues. Adelson has led the anti- online gaming battle for years. His own son’s drug overdose motivated Adelson and his physician wife Miriam to open international clinics, often patronized by addicted prostitutes, to fight drug/alcohol dependency.

A staunch Republican, Adelson also contributes heavily to Republican candidates and causes, which is why the ultra-left Steve believes the accusations. After questioning, Steve acknowledged his favourite liberal nighttime cable news host, who regularly spouts unproven innuendos and conspiracy theories, plus Democratic Party mailers as his sources.

The truth is that in emails from mid-2012, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), claimed Adelson “personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company’s properties in the Chinese enclave of Macau, China.”

Their source? A disgruntled ex-executive seeking $100 million in damages. Adelson‘s immediate lawsuit threat resulted in the DCCC’s August 2 retraction, stating: “In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused.”

The court then tossed a second lawsuit against another Democratic group, ruling that political speech is really free opinion and ordered Adelson repay their legal fees. Really? So, viciously trashing someone’s reputation on unsubstantiated accusations is okay and people should just say “oh well?”

My reaction is not ideological and I say “hell no” to those repeating any unfounded vile gossip. We have come too far to allow scurrilous rumors to be out there without knocking them down.

The political and media smear merchants are everywhere, so the gaming industry must maintain the highest standards and demand truth. Like Ashley Wilkes, I believe all we have in the end is our honor, good names and reputations. They are too precious to compromise.