Have we heard this story before? Executive from very large multinational posts a blog under an assumed name to attack the company's enemies or defend some outrageous practice. Eventually the executive gets nailed and PR scrambles to clean up the mess.
This time the Stupid Use of the Web Award goes to Burger King Vice President Stephen Grover.
Using his middle daughter's screen name, Grover posted snarky comments to various public web sites about a farmworkers' group battling the fast-food giant over wages for tomato pickers.His web posts included a description of the coalition as "an attack organization lining the leaders (sic) pockets ... They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To (sic) bad the people protesting don't have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!"
Has no one learned that controversial anonymous blog postings will come back to haunt you?
|A woman uses a puppet of the Burger King mascot during a protest against low wages in Miami last year.|
Last week, Burger King fired two employees connected to the blogosphere debacle, The Associated Press reported.The company has declined to name the executives who were dismissed, but Miami news reports indicate that one of them is Grover.
“Following an investigation, Burger King Corporation has terminated two employees who participated in unauthorized activity on public Web sites which did not reflect the company’s views and which were in violation of company policy,” Burger King said in a statement.
Last year, a similar snafu erupted when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was outed for using a fake screen name to post on Yahoo Finance stock forums. A lawsuit later revealed the secret identity, which caused some embarrassing press coverage.
The Whole Foods controversy pales beside the soap opera unfolding at Burger King, a company determined to wrestle the Nastiest Company of the Year award from Wal-Mart.
The fast food giant also made the brilliant move of hiring a private investigative company with the warm and fuzzy name Diplomatic Tactical Services. The head of the company then posed as a student to infiltrate the tomato pickers group.
Of course Burger King has now fired the investigative agency, saying---get this!--that it violated the company's code of ethics.