Diversity Crisis Communications: What to Do When Scandals Erupt

The Rutgers crisis is a lesson in the need for swift action and forthright communications when discriminatory scandals occur.

How your company handles a diversity-related crisis can make the difference between whether your leadership stays or goes and whether the public loses faith in your organization (causing plummeting stock price, for example). Here are examples of bad and good ways to handle the type of scandal Rutgers University now faces:


BAD

Did Komen's Lack of Board Diversity Cause Its Crisis?

The nonprofit breast-cancer-prevention group decided to defund Planned Parenthood, then flip-flopped after public outrage. Its CEO ended up resigning.

Lowe's Muslim Publicity Gaffe Serves as Case Study of What Not to Do

The home-improvement chain caved in to an anti-Muslim group and stopped advertising on a reality show featuring Muslims. The public outcry was significant.

Chick-fil-A Caves on Funding Anti-Gay Groups But Is It Enough?

The flip-flops from the food chain have cost it several contracts and public support.

GOOD

Lessons on Values From Ellen & jcpenney

jcpenney CEO Ron Johnson stood up quickly and very publicly for the choice of lesbian Ellen DeGeneres as company spokesperson after anti-gay One Million Moms launched a campaign to have her removed.

Ask the White Guy: Decision Making, Clarity of Values & What to Do When It Goes Horribly Wrong

When progressive corporations found out their local representatives in Tennessee supported anti-gay legislation, they were horrified and reacted swiftly to try to reverse the decision. It was too late, but their public statements were forthright and they have subsequently made sure this won't happen again.

REUTERS

Stop Talking About the Rooney Rule

Magical thinking will not move the needle on your diversity efforts, or your career, if your leadership is not accountable for results.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

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REUTERS

'Regardless Of,' 'It Doesn't Matter' — Bigoted Phrases in Common Use

Credibility is at the core of a successful diversity management effort. Secretary Tillerson provides a teachable moment.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

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REUTERS

You Can Be Fired for Being a Neo-Nazi

The First Amendment does not protect employees who engage in white supremacy activities, experts suggest.

The acts of violence at the hands of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., have raised questions about the workplace: is it okay to fire employees who identify as bigots?

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Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO / REUTERS

Who's Left on Trump's Business Councils?

Which CEOs have — and have not — responded to President Trump's handling of Charlottesville?

During a critical time for business leaders, CEOs and other company leaders have faced decisions. Some chose to remove themselves from White House business councils after President Donald Trump did not immediately disavow white supremacy after violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., left one counter-protester dead and many others injured.

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REUTERS

More CEOs Condemn Trump's Response to Charlottesville

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that by not immediately rebuking white supremacists, President Trump "missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together."

More executives are standing in opposition against President Donald Trump's response to violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend and his refusal to immediately condemn white supremacists.

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Left to right: Kenneth Frazier, CEO, Merck; Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel; Kevin Plank, CEO, Under Armour / REUTERS

Following Charlottesville, Three CEOs Leave Trump Council

Executives are making quick decisions in a critical time for business leaders — but not all statements are equal.

Three CEOs have stepped down from President Donald Trump's advisory council on manufacturing as a result of the White House's delayed response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, which left one counter-protester dead and consisted of many Trump supporters.

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