Social Question

augustlan's avatar

Do you think this man should have been fired for his actions at Chick-Fil-A?

Asked by augustlan (46540 points ) August 3rd, 2012

Adam Smith gave a Chick-Fil-A drive-thru employee a bit of a hard time, and posted a video of it (article and video included), which went viral. He was fired from his job as the CFO of Vante, Inc. because of it.

The article I’ve linked calls him a bully. Do you feel what he did was bullying? Whether or not this is bullying, do you feel he deserved to be fired for it? If he were your employee, how would you have handled it?

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70 Answers

zensky's avatar

Hmmm. I have a feeling there is more to this Auggie. He is expressing his right to freedom of speech – in a rather stupid, immature way as the minimum wage employee is not the correct target of his droll vitriol.

I don’t see how his boss could/would/should fire him for this, per se; methinks he sucked as an employee before this – and it was a grounds for dismissal.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think he acted like an ass, harrassing the young clerk as if she has anything to do with corporate policy. She probably needs the job, end of story. I would guess that the publicity caused by Dan Cathay’s stance, which has polarized most of the country, Vante is probably afraid that Dan’s followers would be put off by this guy’s behaviour. When you are in business, well small business, you have to be pretty much apolitical. You can’t please all the people all the time so you are better off keeping your mouth shut. And yes, I bet @zensky is onto something, he wasn’t doing a great job and this was a good excuse.

zensky's avatar

I’d like to and that before this incident – I’d never heard of the company. And when it blows over, and it will, only the name shall remain – this is inevitible. Sadly, there is no bad publicity – only publicity – even for those unworthy.

rooeytoo's avatar

Do you mean you never heard of Chick Fil A or Vante? I always liked Chick’s food but they are not in Australia so I haven’t had it for many years.

flutherother's avatar

I think firing him was a bit harsh, they should have made him swap jobs with the Chick-Fil-A girl for a week.

Bellatrix's avatar

No, I wouldn’t have fired him. I don’t agree with Chick-Fil-A’s stance but young people serving at the counter have zero influence over that. Taking her on wasn’t a demonstration of his courage in standing up for his values. He was wrong to do that but as long as he wasn’t doing it in his company car or in the company’s name – he is a citizen making a point (badly).

Thammuz's avatar

The way i see it is this: the guy acted like an ass, and probably is an ass in the workplace too. He is the CFO, which means he’s in management, and yet seems to think that harrassing the lower end of the food chain is a good idea, which tells me more than enough about how competent a manger he must be.

Somoene saw this as the perfect reason to get rid of him and, frankly, having worked under managers like this guy (most likely is, i can’t be certain, but my money is on “dickhead), i can’t blame them.

It’s hard having someone who likes to harass the employees in management, especially if he’s actually competent at his actual tasks, because you can’t just fire him for generally being a dick, unless he fucks up badly enough.

creative1's avatar

When you work for a company you represent them regardless if your working at the time. As CEO he should know this. I don’t know if he deserved to be fired for such a little thing but again as CEO he should be holding himself to certain standards. Now of all CEO’s that should have been fired it should have been Chick-Fil-A’s CEO but that is just my opinion.

tom_g's avatar

Who knows why they fired him. He could have been an insufferable a**hole at work too.

RareDenver's avatar

He acted like a douche bag and if Vante felt that his douche bagness made Vante look bad in the public eye then they are in their rights to take action to address that, maybe a public written apology from said douche bag would have done it but I guess so does getting fired.

Thammuz's avatar

@creative1 I disagree. If I work for a company, I represent that company only as long as I’m actually accomplishing my tasks for the company. What I do while on my own time is my business and mine alone. I shouldn’t be held accountable to my employers for my freetime activities, otherwise where the fuck does it end?

Could I, an openly atheist man, fire people because they go to church? Mind you, not because they’re christian, but because i don’t want people representing my company to be seen in a church, because i feel this contradicts my image of what my company stands for?

Could chick-fil-A do the opposite, and fire people who don’t go to church?

No, I’m sorry, people are accountavble while officially on the clock, that’s it.

zensky's avatar

@Thammuz I humbly disagree with you and completely support what @creative1 said.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Thammuz theres a difference between an employee in minimum wage and a c-level. A CEO does absolutely represent a company and is legally responsible for the actions of that company and all it’s employees. If you are a c level and you film yourself doing something stupid and post it all over the web you are demonstrating you don’t have the good judgement or character needed at that level.

Kayak8's avatar

Context really is everything and there is a much bigger context to this man’s actions.

Dan Cathy, the owner of Chik-Fil-A has the same free speech rights as anyone else. I am grateful that he let folks know how he REALLY feels so I can choose to take my junk food dollar elsewhere.

I am troubled by the groups to which he gives money and the list is longer than just groups opposed to gay marriage. Some of these funds go to groups that want to criminalize “being gay” like the Family Research Council. In some countries where these groups work, the punishment for being gay is death. One does not have to be gay to think this is wrong.

If one IS gay (and recognizes that this status is as malleable as one’s height), it is particularly frightening to think people who don’t even know you wish you dead. To support Dan Cathy’s right to free speech, many gathered at Chik-Fil-A this past Wednesday (at the encouragement of Mike Huckabee) to demonstrate their support for Mr. Cathy’s rights.

I suspect many of them agree with Mr. Cathy’s thoughts on gay people and just as many have no awareness of the actions of the groups Mr. Cathy funds. At the same time, there was action afoot in the gay community to visit these restaurants on Wednesday and simply order water—take a few pennies away from the amount he has available to fund our persecution.

It appears that Adam Smith was participating in the “ask for free water” action. His treatment of the young lady working the window was imperfect and I thought she responded well in context. I have watched the interaction several times and concluded that she was either very poised, has been through this before, and/or has been trained to deal with EXACTLY this type of situation as I imagine it is happening with greater frequency these days.

Adam Smith makes a point of saying that he is not gay, but neither is my mother and I think she would have been equally willing to request a free water from Chik-Fil-A this past Wednesday. Adam Smith made several points in his request for water that inclined me to think he was aware of the “free water” campaign. My suspicion is further supported here where Mr. Smith apologizes and explains his behavior.

Rachel, the worker at the window, has a choice in where she works and even tacit support for those who overtly hate others is suspect. Similarly, Vante has a choice in who they hire and keep on staff. It is not clear to me if they fired Smith because of his actions or because they share Mr. Cathy’s politics. It is clear that many who bought chicken (instead of ordering water) on Wednesday clogged Vante’s voicemail with comments about Smith’s behavior.

I think Mr. Smith’s error was in posting the tape of his behavior. In the absence of the tape, he could have ordered his water, spoken to Rachel in the same way or a different way and we would have been none the wiser. So Mr. Cathy does things in secret and then tells the world how he feels and there are consequences for his actions. The same appears to be true for Mr. Smith.

zensky's avatar

Well said @Kayak8

Thammuz's avatar

Firstly, read the article, he wasn’t the CEO. He was the CFO, which means he’s the guy who manages the money. He’s not in charge of public relations and has no representaton value. Most people who interact with the company were probably oblivious to his existence anyway.

But this is beside the point.

@Lightlyseared Acting like a jackass, while obviously not a smart thing, and possibly (prbably) symptomatic of something more (as i already said in my first post) is not illegal. If you hired a jackass, and his being a jackass doesn’t inficiate his performance, you’re not allowed to fire them under the accusation of being a liability to the public image because, unless their job specifically includes being part of the image, like a CEO or a PR person, their own activities have no business being linked to their job in the first place. If the only reason really was this particular incident, which, again, i doubt, then this man is the victim here.

Hypothetical scenario: I am studying to become a game programmer and designer. My industry is closely linked, in the public eye, with children and teens. I am also a BDSM enthusiast (nothing in this part is hypothetical, BTW, the hypothetical comes now).
Say i actually manage to become a game designer, which means i can actually dictate, in some measure, the contents, iconography, style and views of the games i work on. I don’t mix my personal interest in BDSM with my design process on a conscious level.

Now let’s say someone takes pictures of me going into a BDSM club and sends them to the press. Assuming i’m famous enough for people to give a shit, is my company allowed to sack me because I refect badly on them? Is it legally sound to discriminate against someone because of “image damage”?

How is this different from “Don’t ask don’t tell”? How is this not saying “you can be whatever you want, but people must not know of it, otherwise you’re out”? How is considering legally viable someone being sacked because what they do on their own time is something the public frowns on not opening the door to chick-fil-a firing openly gay emplyees because gay employees kissing other men/women/whatever, on their own time, reflects badly on the company?

The employees being high level or low level doesn’t really matter. You have the same rights as an individual, regardless of your job, one of which is the right to exercise your lifestyle within the limits of the law. Being an asshole is not illegal, if it were i would be writing this from jail, and while i don’t agree nor condone this man’s actions, i fully support his right to show the world how much of a douche he is as long as his actions don’t step over the line that we already agreed is the line one must not cross in order to maintain his basic rights.

We already have a set of things that are enough to get someone fired, it’s called the fucking Law.

zensky's avatar

He’s both a jerk and a fool; the latter for posting it himself. I’d fire him just for that.

Thammuz's avatar

@zensky Then you have no repsect for this man’s freedom. Of opinon and of expression.

And conversely you should also be in favour of him firing you for saying this, in a hypothetical scenario where he was your boss and he wasn’t getting sacked for it.

Mind you, he didn’t claim this was the opinion of his company, he did this on his own time and never once mentioned the company.

To quote Justice Dan Snow in First monday in October: “She wants me to disqualify myself because I won’t go down there and sit through that pile of crap? So it is crap. What if it is crap? That’s not the point. Crap’s got the right to be crap.”

This man has the right to be as much of an obnoxious asshole as he wants. His job is not interacting with clients, therefore this will not have any impact on his working performance, which means that this is not grounds for termination.

CWOTUS's avatar

Yes, and for several reasons:

1. He did this on a workday, and on the particular workday in question, the lines at Chick-fil-A, according to all accounts, were “record-breaking” (some photos that I saw online showed quarter-mile backups for the drive-throughs, which is where he was. So he wasted a lot of time on this.

2. His commentary was childish. As the “face of the company”, his thought processes and reasoning skills should go a bit beyond “I’m going to stick it to these guys by taking their free water; that’ll show ‘em!”

3. He spent all this time to… harass the drive-through clerk? Seriously? Total waste.

4. He did all of this, and then after some reflection (one presumes) he posted it online! He probably did that on work time, too. And I would not be at all surprised that he then crowed about it at work, wasting the time of even more people. Even if he didn’t, the employees get to see what “the boss did” online, and if they’re not embarrassed to be working for such a tool, they must be seething that “this is why they pay him the big bucks”.

Total lack of judgment from beginning to end. What amazes me is that such a fool was able to rise to his position in the first place.

Thammuz's avatar

@CWOTUS As the “face of the company”, his thought processes and reasoning skills should go a bit beyond “I’m going to stick it to these guys by taking their free water; that’ll show ‘em!”

CFO =/= CEO

LuckyGuy's avatar

The “lowly” window clerk Rachael showed a lot of class – much more than he did.
I’d hire her.

Trillian's avatar

Something about his speech patterns reminded me of Timothy Treadwell. He is delusional if he really thinks he accomplished anything to further his “cause” by harassing the girl at the window, who showed great grace in the face of such childishness.
A bully, by definition, picks on people who can not fight back. So yes, he’s a bully. The thing is that these are his true colors and indicative of his nature all the time. He bullies people at work and I can guarantee he’s an asshole on the phone to every customer support place he calls. Firing his ass probably brought a sigh of relief to those who had the misfortune who worked under him.
The bottom line here is that people will associate him with that company, and they wisely opted to distance themselves from him decisively.

filmfann's avatar

This guy is an asshole. I would not fire him solely for his actions in this video, but if acted that way at work, he would be kicked to the curb right now.

wilma's avatar

Yes, I think firing him was within his company’s rights. He is an ass.
I think Rachel the window clerk deserves a promotion.

mazingerz88's avatar

Saw the video, read the transcript. No, he shouldn’t have been fired for what he did. Reprimanded, given a warning, yes. But assuming business profit might take a dive because he posted the video, I don’t see if his former co. had a choice. It’s that or the Vante board has more anti-gay and Chick-fil-A owner sypmhatizers. Maybe, who knows.

jerv's avatar

Now, as for being fired, I think that was a little strong unless this is merely the latest act in a pattern of poor judgment. For all I know though, he already had one foot out the door and this was just a pretext. Assuming that this was an isolated fuckup, it should have been handled differently. Then again, a hunch tells me that he really was a tool and was actually getting fired for other reasons.

What gets me is that people think that companies are all homogenous, and that their highest levels of management hear and listen to everything said to their lowest wage-earners. Sorry, but yelling at the drive-thru clerk won’t make Dan Cathy change his stance on homophobia. Furthermore, it’s entirely possible (and rather more likely than you think) that the lower levels are actually on your side. Does anybody know Rachel’s stance on homosexuality? I sincerely doubt that it is the same sort of intolerance that Dan Cathy has. Hell, she may be a lesbian just trying to pay the bills!

@Kayak8 One quibble with your otherwise excellent post.
“Rachel, the worker at the window, has a choice in where she works ”
Maybe it’s because the economy was/is such that I spent over a year unemployed unable to get even a fast food job and forced to take the first one that hired me, maybe it’s that I know too many people with degrees (up to and including Masters) working menial jobs like working a fryolator for $9/hr, but I feel that saying one has a choice implies that you feel homelessness and starvation are also choices. Possibly cancer too.
The whole “choice” fallacy is a sore spot of mine.

@mazingerz88 If this video had not gone viral, how many people would know who Vante was? I didn’t until now. No publicity, no harm, no foul. There is plenty of stuff posted on Youtube that gets ignored and hits obscurity.
Also, see above for the relationship between individuals and their employer. A simple statement from Vante to the effect of, “Yes, he’s a tool, but a tool protected by the First Amendment, a right that we strongly believe in.”, could distance themselves from him, make them look decent, and be effective damage control.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Unless this becomes a case that goes to court, we may never know the answer to if firing CFO Adam Smith was legal or not. So far, all that appears to show up on the internet in the middle of a sea judgement is a post from law firm that focuses on employee/employer law and who advised Vante to fire him. That firm is more likely to know what is legal better than any of us.

So, back to the question. What do I think? It depends upon the company and the laws. It is understandable why the people in charge would want to take this stand. If I were an employee of Vante, I wouldn’t want the actions of one employee potentially damaging the reputation of the company.

If forced to take a side, I would want to know the reason why he was fired first. Was it a violation of some code of ethics that Mr. Smith agreed to? Is it legal to hold him accountable for actions committed outside of work? Was it the straw that broke the camel’s back? Was his termination already in the works, and the timing just worked out that way?

TexasDude's avatar

I don’t know about fired, though some folks here have offered convincing arguments to me as to why he should be. He is a shitbag, though. Harassing some poor girl doesn’t make you a freedom fighter and a champion of tolerance and LGBT rights.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t support Chick-fil-A at all, but that woman has nothing to do with what Cathy says/does. I agree that what this man did to the drive-through employee was totally wrong and I’m glad he got fired. What an asshat.

josie's avatar

Probably did not deserve to be fired. But there is a certain justice in it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

What a social weakling to attack a person in a position to do nothing in defense. He may not have deserved to be fired from his job for his opinions but if he were my employee, I’d be pretty embarrassed to keep him on.

On a personal level, I’m glad he was fired. Chik Fil A may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they have some of the most consistently courteous employees.

augustlan's avatar

I’m really surprised by how many of you would have fired him, if he were your employee. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s pretty damn stupid to take your frustration out on an employee who has no influence on policy. Dick move, certainly.

But suppose his rant had been about some other Chick-Fil-A policy. Hypothetically, say CFA had a strict policy that all water must be sold in a small cup, and he wanted a large. If he ranted to the drive-thru employee about that, a policy she has no control over, he’d still be a dick. If he posted a video of it and it went viral, he’d still be a dick. But would he get fired for it?

Trillian's avatar

@augustlan My son was employed by the Boys and Girls club for a while and he was reprimanded because he posted a photo on his FB page showing his new piercings which were very low on his hips. He could have been fired. B&G club has a way they present themselves, and he had them listed as employers.
If little mister had posted his childish bullying and there were no connectino made between him and Vante, (of whom I’ve never heard), there would be no problem, but once the two were associate it was up to them to deal with a possible PR nightmare. Perception counts for much.

CWOTUS's avatar

Because of the amount of time he spent on this stunt, including the inane commentary, the time wasted to simply berate the lowest-level employee at the restaurant and “hurt” them by taking their offer of free water (how silly was all of that?) and then to post the thing on YouTube. (It was probably the online posting more than anything else that did him in. Especially since it was so… “childish” is the best word that I can use to describe it – even though he was polite; I acknowledge that, at least – and insipid.)

It seems to me that he must have spent most of a day in the commission of this little act of passive-aggressive nonsense, and then he had the lack of self-awareness to post to YouTube! It’s not only the association with the company that makes them look bad to outsiders, but he probably looks just as silly to the Vante employees (regardless of their feelings on this particular issue) and meant he had to go.

He seems to have been a Rebel Without a Clue.

mrrich724's avatar

Clearly the guy is a tool bag, so he probably treated others the same way he treated a teenage girl who was at work. as @tom_g stated, they very well may have been waiting for a reason to fire him.

Nevertheless, I don’t disagree with Vante’s actions. When you are a C-Suite executive, you are LITERALLY the face of the company not only to investors but to many others. Vante decided that Smith’s attitude and behavior did not align with that of a C-Suite leader of that organization. When you assume a high level role, you are accepting that responsibility with it.

Jenniehowell's avatar

Yes I do think he was being a bully – were he actually approaching the person who made the decisions and statement rather than a lowly drive through employee & if he approached that person in a different manner then perhaps I would call it something else, but to harass an employee who is simply coming to work to do her job & then question why she works there etc. as if she doesn’t have bills to pay is an indication of someone being at a level of privilege that causes them to think it’s not a big deal not to have your job & therefore as a lesson to him I’d likely accommodate him with the experience he was harassing that girl to have…. go without a job in order to make your stand against hate.

I figure if you’re willing to nag, harass, bully, admonish others for not being willing to do it you may need to stand up and be their example to show them how it’s done – so in the words of the Donald… You’re Fired!.

The guy is an asshole for having bothered to harass this person who is a basic low wage worker with no decision making ability at that company & I personally prefer not to have assholes working for me or with me or for that matter above me hence he’d be gone – (I prefer to be the only asshole that I’m willing to work with – ha ha)

creative1's avatar

Just and FYI because I worked there as a teen, if you even work as an order taker at McDonalds and you do something that they feel makes McDondalds look bad they will fire you. I knew someone who was fired for getting arrested for a DUI. It was in their policy in that respect and I learned at an early age if you want to make anything of yourself to keep your nose clean and you can reach for the stars. These days with the internet what do you think they are doing when they do a background check, they are not only pulling your credit but they are also seaching the net to see if there is anything that they don’t like out there.

Kayak8's avatar

@jerv I actually thought about your concern as I was writing. Some folks clearly do not have a choice where they work in order to ensure that they are able to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Rachel even comments that her personal philosophy may differ from her employer’s perspective, but that it was not her place to make such comments at work.

In further support of your perspective, Rachel could well have taken the job without knowing of Mr. Cathy’s politics as these have only recently come to light. Her graciousness at the Chik-Fil-A window may help her find better employment such as suggested by @LuckyGuy . She is a class act, so I hope this errant video can help springboard her to better wages from a better employer! Thanks for your post as you are totally correct in your assessment about being able to “choose” where we work in difficult economic times!

Brian1946's avatar

@Kayak8

“She is a class act….”

I agree, and that applies to you too.

Kayak8's avatar

@Brian1946 You are too sweet! blushing

funkdaddy's avatar

For those that think he represents his company at all times, are you representing your employer right now? Is there a switch that should go off when someone achieves a “C-level” position? Are they no longer individuals in any way?

The guy was a jerk, but I’ve heard worse at every public facing position I’ve ever held. This was relatively mild compared to what people will do if they feel slighted in any way. She handled it wonderfully and I think that’s the only thing that holds it in such contrast. Kudos to her.

Think of a time you were embarrassed by your own behavior in public. Was it more damaging to someone than this? Did you lose your job? Should you have?

We all need our personal time or we’re nothing more than employees. If my actions during my personal time do not affect my employer directly, then they should not affect my employment. What’s true for me should be true for anyone who works.

Anything else is really dangerous.

Kayak8's avatar

@funkdaddy I work for state government. While my personal time is my own, posting my off-work antics would not be wise. As a supervisor in a very public oriented environment, it is Adam Smith’s judgement about posting his video that concerns me.

As I started to write this, I started to type “what he does in his personal life is his own business but when he makes it public, then he runs the risk of being fired.” I had to stop and think because this is exactly what every gay person endures when they contemplate coming out at work. You have given me a lot to think about!

laurenkem's avatar

@Kayak8 , the girl in this video “has a choice where to work”? Really? Where in the United States of America do you live that you can now pick and choose between jobs? Because I want to move there – where I live, you take whatever job you can get, and no job that’s honest is beneath anyone.

She may have totally different beliefs than the company she works for. But her beliefs aren’t gonna pay her rent.

zensky's avatar

@augustlan But suppose his rant had been about some other Chick-Fil-A policy. Hypothetically, say CFA had a strict policy that all water must be sold in a small cup, and he wanted a large. If he ranted to the drive-thru employee about that, a policy she has no control over, he’d still be a dick. If he posted a video of it and it went viral, he’d still be a dick. But would he get fired for it?

Yes, the subject matter is not important. The act, and idiocy of posting it, is.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I would not have fired him unless it was the case, as others have suggested, that this is merely one more data point in a larger pattern. I do not think that people should be fired for what they do in a non-official capacity unless it directly reflects on or impairs their ability to do their job.

I am very disappointed, however, in all of the people taking out their frustration with Chick-fil-A on the company’s employees. One story that really struck me was this one about a gay employee of Chick-fil-A. It just drives home how presumptuous it is to blame the employees for Cathy’s bigotry.

rooeytoo's avatar

I just saw this on facebook, I liked it!!!

I’m gay, And I do not care what one Fast Food owners opinion on me is, They actually have good food, Offer employment for gays, And give a lot of money to terminally ill Children. Let them be able to practice their First amendment rights peacefully without fear of this Bullshit, Because everyone deserves a voice in this country, Right or wrong…

So instead of doing this “Boycott” BS, How about you spend more time educating people about love and understanding, And make us look like actual loving people, Instead of self righteous assholes who can’t treat people with a different opinion then them with decent tolerance and respect!
Unlike · · 58,1453,102 · August 1 at 3:25pm ·

Trillian's avatar

@rooeytoo Fuckin’ A!

mazingerz88's avatar

Does this gay person who posted in Facebook ignoring the fact that the owner of Chick-fil-A isn’t just exercising his First Amendment Rights but also giving money to supposedly anti-gay marriage groups who support politicians who are making sure gays like him or her don’t get the same rights? This isn’t just about Chick-fil-A hiring gays or Chick-fil-a giving money to charity.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t know anything except what I pasted and what you read. I thought it a divergent, interesting position and intelligent position taken by a gay person. I have been to enough 12step meetings to know the only person I can control is me, when I try to control others I am basically beating my head against a wall. Sounds as if this person reckons the same.

Jenniehowell's avatar

That gay person posting on FB is making a point to say that dudes like this guy who unnecessarily harassed this poor lowly drive-thru employee made himself look like a heartless & ignorant asshole & at the same time brought the “cause” & supporters of equal rights down a notch as well by making us look like ignorant heartless assholes as well. It’s a lot easier to make a decision not to support a group of people when they act like asses.

As for chic-fil-a & the statements, donations, voting etc that they do for causes against gay marriage – however hateful, ignorant & bigoted that is – they are perfectly within the law & have every right to support causes & make statements & it’s actually a bit hypocritical for a group who cries & fights for equal rights & freedoms to go in support of another person or group losing theirs (boycotts & severing of business ties are one thing but denying business licenses etc is another). Just as Martin Luther King Jr. Fought violence & inequality by supporting the opposite & shunning that which they were fighting against (violience & inequality) we who support gay marriage should do the same & taking away freedoms & rights of others doesn’t make a good point for someone who wants rights of their own but rather it makes them look like narcissistic assholes who want something for themselves even if it means they have to take it from others in order to achieve their goal.

Though I am a lesbian & am in complete support of full equality for all people & therefore disagree with the views of the chic-fil-a dude & his supporters – I still support their rights for freedom to believe & speak & live with the particular freedoms they would like as well. As a military veteran I can honestly say to a whole slew of people chic fil a included that I do not like what you say & do but I will defend to the death your right to say & do it. I’ll add of course that you’re lying tho if you say you respect gays if you are supporting them being less than a citizen with equal rights & liberty etc. because its not possible to respect someone who you aren’t willing to afford freedom & equality to on a legal level so that you can choose for yourself which freedoms you will exercise & take advantage of for yourself at any given point.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I don’t think he should have been fired. It wasn’t all THAT bad. But he bullied someone, so he certainly deserved to be reprimanded.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jenniehowell No one is saying that Cathy does not have freedom of speech or the right to donate to whomever he chooses. And no one is talking about denying Chick-fil-A business licenses. If you are referring to the story about Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, his original letter states nothing but his personal opinion that Boston is an inappropriate location for Chick-fil-A. Furthermore, he was quite clear that his intentions were to do nothing more than speak out against Chick-fil-A—something he has every right to do—in order to make it a poor business decision for the company to try expanding into Boston. As such, I see no hypocrisy.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m glad there’s around 3 or 4 of us here with the same sentiment.

Brian1946's avatar

Nope, but if he ever applies for work at Chick-fellatio, he should get a pie in the face from Rachel, instead of a job. ;-)

LostInParadise's avatar

Highly placed people in a company have, in exchange for all the money they make, the added burden of acting responsibly in public. A clerk in the company will not be identified with it, but a CEO or CFO will. By going out of his way to make such a spectacle of himself, the company had the right to fire Smith.

funkdaddy's avatar

Curious if people would feel differently if his title was “VP of Finance”, “Comptroller”, or even “Head Accountant”... they’re all essentially the same position.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@funkdaddy I wouldn’t feel differently. He was (and likely is) a jerk. He treated a low level employee, caged behind a window and under constant video and audio surveillance, rudely.

Firing might have been a bit harsh but one thing should definitely happen:
Women should not date or mate with this dick.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@LostInParadise “Had the right” ≠ “was in the right.” We all know that the company has the right to fire him. They did it. The question is whether or not they were right to do so (whether they should have fired him).

@LuckyGuy At this point, I see no reason to be anything but agnostic about Smith’s general behavior. We know he was a jerk this time, and maybe he was a jerk generally. If so, the firing is much more understandable. His apology seems genuine, however, and his explanation makes sense. Then again, a man in his position with a few days time might be able to fake a good apology. As such, I’m not sure we are in a position to say anything definitive about his general behavior.

Trillian's avatar

@SavoirFaire I feel like at least part of his apology was a lie in that he said he had no intention until he got to the window of speaking out. That is clearly a lie. The fact that he had a camera primed and rolling before he even got to the window speaks of pre-meditation. HE then gleefully posted his childishness thinking of how he could brag to people about how he “told off the loser at the window with the despicable job, served her right!”
His apology is like that of any other public persona caught up in a backlash.
I’m sure that he’s sorry to have gotten fired, and sorry that his family and friends have been threatened.
The threats are more wrong-headed ridiculousness and the whole polarization of our country threatens to turn us into the violent eye-for-an-eye groups like those which one sees in the middle east; continuing escalation of violence with every action/re-action. Each side feels justified in their actions, words of hatred and violence for the other, and no one willing to just live and let live.
What we need now is for cooler heads to prevail and de-escalate this before actual harm comes to some.
I saw that a Chick-Fil-A had to close due to bomb threats.
Really?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Trillian What was clearly premeditated was his participation in an organized “just order water” protest. That’s why he brought the camera. Participating in that would not have gotten him fired, and it’s not obvious to me that he planned on being rude from the start. His tone in the original video strikes me as very much like I’ve heard from people who have gotten themselves worked up in between deciding to do something and actually following through on it. I have a friend who does this all the time. He’ll say “okay, I’m just going to point out why that makes no sense and move on,” but then he’ll wind up arguing with someone for 20 minutes at the top of his voice.

Do I know that this is what Smith is like? No, I do not. My point is only that I do not think that we are in any position to be confident whether this one data point is an anomaly or fits neatly into the pattern of this man’s personal behavior. His former employer is in a better position to determine that, and we might want to take their decision to terminate Smith as evidence for the “pattern” hypothesis over the “anomaly” hypothesis. Then again, it could just be a defensive maneuver on their part. The same goes for Smith’s apology. I agree that it fits the normal “get me out of this” formula, but so would a genuine apology in this case.

Personally, I see no virtue in deciding to live and let live when it comes to bigotry. The protests and boycotts of Chick-fil-A are entirely warranted, in my opinion. This is not to condone the bomb threats or the harassment of employees who may not share Cathy’s opinion, however, as neither seem warranted to me. Just as I think a little agnosticism is the proper response to Smith right now, Smith should have engaged in a bit of agnosticism himself regarding the woman at the window. Maybe she was gay and having a rather bad day her own self. Maybe she supports same-sex marriage but also needs to support her own family. His presumption undermines his righteousness.

Trillian's avatar

@SavoirFaire I prefer educating people over forcing my views on them. As I understand it, the actual terminology in the Bible was mis-translated and actually refers to adult males forcing themselves on children which is considered abomination, not consenting adults. Surely educated people who really wish to be activists on this issue could come up with ways to educate people about this rather than fanning the flames of hatred and resistance by participating in over the top “gay” actions, When has that ever changed a person’s mind about anything?
There will always be instigators and those willing to be hateful on both sides of any issue. The Westboro Baptist people come to mind.
I decline to argue further about the extent of his pre-meditation. You could be right, I have only my impression from what I saw and of course we all have different lenses through which we perceive the world. I try to remain cognizant of that fact always.
I still believe that he should not have said one word to her other than thank you. The minute he began that tirade, he was not righteous, but self righteous. No different than Westboro in that sense, other than degree. He completely undermined whatever he was trying to prove.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Trillian As far as I can tell, we’re in complete agreement that he shouldn’t have said anything other than “thank you.” I haven’t defended his outburst one bit. But boycotts and protests, which are what I have defended, are not instances of forcing your views on other people. They are ways of expressing your views. If stating one’s opinion is considered forcing one’s views on others now, we will find ourselves in a sorry state very soon.

With regard to the Bible passages at issue, I have presented a short analysis of them a few times on Fluther. Here is one version of the post.

Trillian's avatar

@SavoirFaire Thank you for having the patience to engage me for this long. I don’t say that stating one’s opinions is “forcing” but I do believe that public demonstratins are potential trouble. There are obiously strong emotions involved, and it seems like a time rife with potential for escalation to violence. There are always those who are looking to provoke others. And with either side there are those who subscribe to an in-your-face/deal-with-it attitude. This is what I object to, both in principle and practice. It does not speak to promoting understanding and acceptance, but rather, is adversarial and combative.
Thank you for the link with the very detailed explanation.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Trillian Public demonstrations certainly bring with them the potential for trouble, but that potential is worth the risk. Silence is a lie that says “all is well.” The reason why many injustices go on for so long is that no one risks speaking up and saying “this is wrong.” It’s dangerous to do so. There are social risks, and there are the risks you mention. The alternative, however, seems much worse to me.

LostInParadise's avatar

The problem with Smith’s demonstration was that the main thing it showed was his enjoyment in browbeating a low level employee.

Trillian's avatar

@SavoirFaire I did not say I advocated silence, I advocate education. The key to getting an idea into people’s heads is repetition. It takes time and persistence for the ocean to erode cliffs on the shore and it takes time and persistence to plant an idea. It can be and indeed has been done. Look at the level of tolerance for interracial relationships now as compared to 1960. How did that happen? Via mass media, over and over and over. Pretty much any idea can have this principle applied to it. But it takes time and commitment. The end results are measurable, and less combative and less confrontational. I don’t say people should not have demonstrations, I simply say that actions taken by those who are so angry and determined to have their views accepted as legitimate can be counter-productive in terms of accomplishing stated goals.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@LostInParadise Precisely. It didn’t accomplish a THING except to stress that poor girl out for no reason. What he did was just mean.

noraasnave's avatar

I tend to agree with others that for one to express one’s views is fine, but the choice of when and the surrounding audience shows the maturity and character of the one sharing. In this case the ‘one’ is clearly a tool looking to satisfy his own selfish goals. It was probably the straw that broke the camels back as far as getting fired from his job is concerned.

I have been pissed off at drive thru people for poor service, and told them as much, but targeting a drive thru worker to express one’s agenda is lame and impotent.

I know as a Marine, I have to always be cognizant of how my spoken view impresses itself upon people that know little about the Marine Corps. Especially as a SNCO (Staff Non-Commissioned Officer E6-E9) the wrong word can not only damage the reputation of the Marine Corps to whomever hear/sees but also can damage and/or end my career. I have seen my peers kicked out just short of retirement on their ear for saying the wrong thing on facebook or even in a local bar.

Would I fire him? In my experience with younger Marines; mistakes are an opportunity for learning and for forming a mentoring bond in most cases. So, no, I might not be as quick to fire:

I would have let him launch a YouTube video apologizing for being a idiot in the treatment of the drive thru worker and list it under the same title as the former movie just with apology on the end, maybe even apologize to her face. In addition to this probably a demotion. Nothing humbles someone like making their employee their new boss.

mrrich724's avatar

@funkdaddy everyone has their moments of douchebaggery, not everyone posts it on a site and tags it with a topic that’s SURE to get national attention.

If I get a little too drunk at a bar, my boss will make fun of me. If I film that stupidity and do something to ensure a few million people in the nation see it and bring attention to myself on such a scale, I believe it becomes a different animal.

Jenniehowell's avatar

@SavoirFaire sorry for the late response lost Internet for a bit. I know your statement is true re: the mayor & business licenses – I was more speaking of the plethora of individuals I’ve come across who supported the whole idea of restricting one version or another of chic-fil-a’s freedoms in order to prove the point of how they deserve their own -

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