WASHINGTON, September 25, 2017 – As the political fur continues to fly throughout official Washington and the sports world alike over the left-wing grandstanding of NFL players and owners alike, NASCAR owners have promptly stepped up to the plate to declare that anti-American political protests like those during NFL games have no place at their popular NASCAR racing events.
In our CDN business columns over the years, we’ve weighed in time and time again that businesses large and small would be wise to avoid political proclamations, grandstanding and virtue signaling, whether left-wing or right. In a nation like the United States, which has, for over two decades, been split nearly evenly along ideological and electoral voting fault lines, businesses whose CEOs, officers or key individuals proclaim unswerving support for one side or another immediately risk alienating half their customers, thus causing damage to themselves, their employees, their customers and their businesses alike.
Despite our sensible advice, business after business has foolishly waded into the culture wars, almost invariably embracing radical left wing positions again and again. The result? Almost instant embarrassment at best, serious loss of business at worse, and a long-lasting blemish on the corporate image for many months and sometimes years to come.
Since the time of the Obama administration in Washington, numerous CEOs and others prominently affiliated with business entities have continued their virtue-signaling parade, causing serious monetary and representational damage to their respective businesses. Here are just a few:
- ESPN (Disney). By placing left-wing political advocacy over sports coverage, this onetime popular sports network franchise has systematically alienated its sports-loving audience, leading to a disastrous collapse in subscribers and revenue alike.
- Scripps Networks. Ended up with egg on its collective face for canceling at least one upcoming series and embarrassing itself over another due to the network’s apparent disdain for religious expression.
- A&E. Another network that apparently fears religion, A&E wrapped itself around the publicity axle by going after the conservative religious views of “Duck Dynasty’s” patriarch, Phil Robertson.
- Cracker Barrel. In a brief outburst of left-wing virtue-signaling related to the A&E/Duck Dynasty tiff, this national restaurant and country store chain loudly and publicly pulled hot-selling Duck Dynasty products from its shelves. In the face of a strong reaction from its furious customers, the company shamefacedly backtracked from its foolish new anti-Duck Dynasty policy just a couple of days later.
- Carbonite. By publicly endorsing the “free birth control” demands of a radical feminist law student while pulling its advertising from the Rush Limbaugh radio show to protest that popular host’s denunciation of the same, the CEO of Carbonite ripped sales of his company’s computer security products to shreds, leading to a dramatic decline in its stock price. It took a year for the company to briefly recover before sinking once again, and it’s never really recovered.
- Merck and UPS. Virtually unnoticed by the fake news left-wing media, both these giant companies publicly declared they would no longer donate to the Boy Scouts of America due to BSA’s then-in-effect policy of banning homosexual men from serving as scoutmasters. Although the BSA eventually caved-in to the Obama administration’s relentless attacks on their fine, longstanding organization organization – one that has helped mold American boys into upstanding members of the community for over 100 years – we have yet to read reports that either Merck, UPS, or any other organization that followed their anti-Boy Scout path, has restored support to this organization.
- Kellogg’s. In an absurd overreaction to the victory of Donald Trump, Kellogg’s virtue-signaling, hard-left CEO demanded that all auto-advertising that had been placing Kellogg’s ads on Breitbart.com and associated sites immediately cease and desist, claiming the company no longer wanted the business of anyone or any organization supporting a conservative point of view. His intolerance was quickly met by an effective “boycott Kellogg’s” campaign by Breitbart.com, not to mention the fury of numerous customers who ceased purchasing the company’s products due to Kellogg’s contempt for freedom of speech and expression. Already battered by a secular decline in its product lines, the company has continued to lose market share ever since this incident.
The list goes on, but you get the picture. And our continuing message. CEOs of America: When speaking for your business, it is ALWAYS a poor idea to drive away half your potential customers and new business by putting your company’s name squarely behind a radical ideology. Do your showboating on your own and outside business hours and functions, or you’ll risk causing severe and perhaps permanent damage to your business, customers, employees and shareholders.
By way of welcome contrast, here’s more on the NASCAR way from “Rare’s” Matt Naham: