An executive who posted a YouTube video of himself berating a poor Chick-Fil-A drive thru worker over her company president's position on gays really proved a point this week. He proved that you can get fired for doing something pointless and stupid.
Adam Smith was CFO and treasurer of Tucson, AZ based medical supplies manufacturer Vante. He videotaped himself earlier this week going through a Chick-Fil-A drive through, getting a free glass of water, and then verbally assaulting the unsuspecting girl who was there to serve him. Smith has an issue with what some perceive to be the company's position on gays. In actuality, the company president, Dan Cathy, said recently in an interview that he believes in traditional marriage. The company also does support conservative groups financially that are not viewed as friendly to gay causes.
So Mr. Smith seemed to believe that verbally bitch slapping and humiliating a young girl on YouTube would set the company straight. He told the girl that she should be embarrassed by her company and its policies, and that she worked for an evil employer. He gloated that he only got a free glass of water so that he could take a little money from the company's coffers so they couldn't spread hate with it. He also made great pains to tell her he was a nice guy, and totally heterosexual, saying, “I don't have a gay in me”.
I would certainly hope not. That would have made it very difficult to drive.
As it turns out, Mr. Smith's employer, Vante, seemed to be greatly embarrassed by HIS policies, and has apparently fired him for his conduct. In a very brief press release on the Vante site, they say essentially, Hey, we barely knew the guy. We're embarrassed too. He ain't here no mo.
The video is below this story.
I will say this. The young lady in the video should have extremely proud parents. She politely faced down a rude, inconsiderate brute who apparently doesn't see the problem with picking on a young, low level employee. To say it in a manner only my LinkedIn friends will appreciate, the nasty bully picked on the cute girl, and she acted like a true champ. She should use that video for future job interviews.
I am not trying to make a judgment on Mr. Cathy's beliefs, or even what Chick-Fil-A does with their money. I will say that I am a free speech, open market kind of guy. That of course means that if you don't like a company, you are free to not use them. What a concept. Apparently that is not enough for some.
What struck me as I watched the video was the manner in which he was speaking about this “hate filled company”, while sounding, in my opinion, pretty damn intolerant himself. Somewhat ironic. I am sure it presented a great challenge for his employer.
I just attended a session at the Florida RIMS conference in Naples, FL, on Social Media and Risk. They discussed at length the challenges that social media is presenting employers today, and among other things, that it was critical to have a response plan for when something like this occurs. It is clear that the days of getting out in front of an issue and managing the story is over. Company's need to have a plan today on managing the risk after the story is out.
I don't know if Vante had a plan, but if they did, I am pretty damn certain they didn't expect to have to deploy it on one of the C-Suite execs who crafted the policy. Now this brainiac needs to find another job. Perhaps the post office is hiring. He best not apply at Chick-Fil-A. Their service standards are clearly higher than the behavior he so proudly displayed.