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Why I’m not cheering the termination of Vante’s CFO for his anti-Chick-fil-A political stunt

Why I’m not cheering the termination of Vante’s CFO for his anti-Chick-fil-A political stunt

A number of readers have alerted me to this video, which originally was posted on YouTube by Adam Smith, the Chief Financial Officer of medical products maker Vante (via Gateway Pundit):

Why pick on a drive-through window clerk?  The video seemed to capture in minutes the entire bullying methodology of the left.

Needless to say, the reaction has been substantial.

Now the person in the film, Adam Smith, has lost his job (unclear if he resigned or was fired, but clear what the cause was)(h/t reader John):

TUCSON, AZ–(Marketwire – Aug 2, 2012) –  The following is a statement from Vante:

Vante regrets the unfortunate events that transpired yesterday in Tucson between our former CFO/Treasurer Adam Smith and an employee at Chick-fil-A. Effective immediately, Mr. Smith is no longer an employee of our company.

The actions of Mr. Smith do not reflect our corporate values in any manner. Vante is an equal opportunity company with a diverse workforce, which holds diverse opinions. We respect the right of our employees and all Americans to hold and express their personal opinions, however, we also expect our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others.

We hope that the general population does not hold Mr. Smith’s actions against Vante and its employees.

I just can’t cheer.  Yes, he brought it on himself.

But aren’t many of the arguments you can make in favor of the termination just variations on the arguments used against conservatives all the time?  Where to draw the line certainly is a problem.

Or am I just drawing a false moral equivalence?


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TrooperJohnSmith | August 3, 2012 at 12:35 am

Corporate officers and certain others within any company are held to a different, higher standard, especially as it relates to doing something to hurt the company brand. That’s a fact.

That’s why some folks with such positions post anonymously on blogs, don’t use twitter and are careful keep their name, and by extension their employer’s name, out of places where that person doesn’t even take a chance of reflecting negatively on his/her company’s values or creating non-business associations.

Mr. Smith wasn’t surprised. It’s always stated in your employment contract.

    theduchessofkitty in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | August 3, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Yeah, that’s the same reason that I post anonymously and don’t have Twitter – only because I’m a SAHM and I would like to go back to the workforce someday, after my kids are well-established in school.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to theduchessofkitty. | August 3, 2012 at 4:19 am

      That reminds me of something else about what Smith did that really bothers me. He posted his video on Youtube for the world to see, so proud of himself for bullying this little teenager working her first job in the business world. In so doing, he splashed her face all around the planet. Did he give one moment’s thought to her privacy? Did it even enter his perverse, anger-filled mind that this might not be something she would want and might not be beneficial to her, maybe even cause her danger or harm? Didn’t the asshole traumatize her enough whe he visited her window for his free water?

    What TrooperJohnSmith said. This is exactly correct. Now if he had just been caught on someone else’s video he might have had an escape but he deliberately publicized his own nefarious actions. You can’t afford to have someone like that in a top exec position.

    shortwave8669 in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | August 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

    We can support the cashier, Rachel who was bullied instead of calling for the bully to be fired.

    Remember the granny who was bullied on the bus by kids? Viewers donated $700K

    Someone has created a similar campaign to pay for a vacation for Rachel the cashier at Chick-Fil-A

    Called “Rachel Needs a Vacay” we can support her here-

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to shortwave8669. | August 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      I laud these efforts to help Rachael, but that’s not the point. No one really called for him to be fired, as would the Left have done, were he a conservative (who as such, would not have done this). The point is that as a company officer, he violated the conditions of his employment and was fired, for cause, by his employer.

      If he is this irresponsible with his behavior, how is he at pursuing his fiduciary responsibilities as CFO? As much as our society tries to say otherwise, character does matter.

    If this was my daughter and I saw this, I would be furious. The loss of a CFO position would not be the only thing that Mr. Smith would be worried about, this is one time where I would use the legal system to punish a man for a stupid act. I truly believe that if this was his child and it was someone talking to his family that way he would not be pleased. If he believed this strongly just stop going to the Chick-fil-A locations and spending money on there products. That way he can feel that he not contributing to things he does not believe in, he would not have to be rude to a young woman that was just working. As a CFO he knows that his personal rant and large water is not going to have an effect on Chick-fil-A or the charitable and political donations. This was a man trying to show he is better than everyone else, more self-promotion and ideological drama. That said I wish the university would take action against him as well, he should be removed from having any status on the campus as an adjunct lecture at the University of Arizona. You should be cheering the termination because Adam Scott bullied and disregard a women request to stop recording her all so he could show off on YouTube. I have to admit the declartion that he was heterosexual and a nice guy was just wierd.

    Mr. Jacobson, I think that you should be cheering the dismisal of Mr. Smith.

“Gotta be prepared for the consequences if you’re gonna go the premeditated video vigilante route.”

This sums up my feelings. I’m neither happy nor mad that Smith got fired, but I absolutely understand Vante wanting to nip this in the bud.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to holygoat. | August 3, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I think there is an important difference between firing someone for unbecoming private behavior that he or she gets caught doing but didn’t intend to get caught/found out and have reflect poorly on their employer and firing someone who blatantly and in-your-face deliberately does something unbecoming that he or she then deliberately makes public that reflects poorly on their employer.

    It’s all about intent. Adam Smith is a real cocky, militant SOB who fully intended that the world know what he did to that little girl working at her little fast food job trying to start her way into the world of work. She never lost her poise or dignity, while he smeared his all over the latrine floor. He is now the poster boy for “Bad Judgment” and I would have canned him, too, and just as swiftly. No company needs nor should have to tolerate such a deliberately public display of bullying and egregious rudeness reflecting on their company. What the hell are they supposed to say to their stockholders, employees and customers if they let this stand? Why should they have to be stuck with this asshole? There are probably 10,000 unemployed people qualified for Smith’s job and ready to go to work tomorrow – without his baggage and opinions.

    And, yes, it’s pretty clear from the company’s statement that they canned him. They acted swiftly which was the wisest thing they could do. They can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but they can demonstrate their disdain with actions rather than just words, and that’s just what they did.

    Good for Vante.

    I’ll bet Smith is kicking himself ten ways from Sunday right about now. Maybe GLAAD or LGBT or HRC will give him a job. Or not. Even they may not approve of the means by which he expressed his disagreement – picking on and bullying a captive teenager working fast food? Shame, shame, shame on him. What a gross, colossal coward he is.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 3, 2012 at 12:43 am

I see the University of Arizona’s response.

Besides him being anti business he is also anti -student. Plenty of the university’s own students would be working at jobs like this to earn some much needed income. Times are tough & kids should be helping out with costs .

Also the 2 girls are very pretty.

Now if I were to go to my local Maccas & say those things I would be tracked down & beaten up. They all got dem some big brothers .

Some people are saying Chick-fil-A is cult-like. Well, this Arizona firm sure did enjoy punishing an employee for his stunt off company time and not in the company’s image. How’s that for intrusion into one’s life?

To fire someone for this and support it is to basically say a firm owns not a limited block of time you voluntarily sell them but your entire life. I wonder if a company should fire you for even showing up and purchasing food yesterday or showing up to protest.

The balance of power between employee and employer will have a chilling effect on speech, albeit at the private level, and it gets even worse with mandatory arbitration.

That you could call this harassment is suspect. Harassment takes a lot longer than 30 seconds. Calling this harassment is like saying Zimmerman stalked and harassed Trayvon. As long as the man in the video left when asked by a representative of the company, everything is good in my opinion.

This is getting crazy. I agree with Mr. Jacobson.

    delicountessa in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:26 am

    I have to ask how you know it was on his personal time and not on company time. He said he “might come back later” and join the students if they were engaging in a sit-in. It’s possible he took a break and uploaded it from his desk in his office.

      spokker in reply to delicountessa. | August 3, 2012 at 1:33 am

      Confirm that it was company time and I will join you in support of his firing.

        delicountessa in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:42 am

        This is the third time someone has made the comment (not in this forum) that he was on his personal time and had the right to do what he did. I wasn’t being argumentative, it just occurred to me that it may not have been.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 4:23 am

        Smith was a senior executive. “Company time” is 100% irrelevant.

        TrooperJohnSmith in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

        He was a corporate officer. The CFO of a company. You are always on company time, as far as behavior and other activities are concerned. Anything he does to bring discredit on Vante is germane to what he does. That’s why he gets the big salary, the stock options, a secretary, an office, possibly the car which he was driving, etc.

        What sounds worse, “This video was posted by an employee of Vante, a medical…” OR “This video was posted Adam Smith, the CFO of Vante, a medical…”

        In the boardroom, this is called, ‘damaging the brand’. It’s bad. As CFO, he wields a lot of clout and his actions can damage that brand to both the public and investors. If Vante is a publicly held company, the CEO almost had no choice.

          “In the boardroom, this is called, ‘damaging the brand’.”

          The corollary to this is: In the boardroom, firing Adam Smith (in these circumstance) is called ‘protecting the brand’.

    Evan3457 in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:31 am

    This has been going on forever. Teachers are being fired for saying politically incorrect things on Twitter or Facebook. I would normally say this company overreacted, but this jerk not only took the trouble to post this on YouTube, but he doubled down by proclaiming how proud he was and what a victory for humanity it was that he harassed that poor serving girl. I can’t blame the company for firing him. But don’t worry excessively about the ironically named Adam Smith; I’m sure there’ll be 100 liberal/leftist groups/organizations who’ll want to hire him after his performance.

    Casey in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

    The lesson is: don’t be a rude, abusive jerk, then post the video on the internet.

    If some “Reverend” Phelps type started harassing an employee at the local (say) Subway’s just because he was gay, taped it, and put it on his YouTube page, I wouldn’t be surprised if s/he got fired either.

    I suppose my position is this: once you get high up-enough on the corporate ladder, your public behavior can reflect on your company whether you want it to or not.

    If that bozo had settled for (say) politely passing out (sane) leaflets outside the store, and asking people to listen why he thought they shouldn’t support Chik-fil-a, I doubt he would have been fired.

    To paraphrase Dean Wormer: loud, bigoted and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

      spokker in reply to Casey. | August 3, 2012 at 1:53 am

      “I suppose my position is this: once you get high up-enough on the corporate ladder, your public behavior can reflect on your company whether you want it to or not.”

      This seems arbitrary to me? How high and in what capacity? Does it depend on industry?

      The only reason we think bad public behavior on your own time reflects poorly on your employer is because we as a society buy into this idea of guilt by association far too often.

      Oh, this guy hanging out with this guy? Let’s not listen to him. This story is in this media outlet? I’m not going to consider it.

      So we have this guy doing a political stunt to convey some stupid message. Fine. It didn’t work out. It was a major misfire. But it would be flawed reasoning to say that his employer condones political stunts in any way.

      What matters is whether or not he gets his job done and if he used company time to do it. If he uploaded it from his work computer, I agree, he should be gone if the employer desires it.

      After all, the catheter is the same quality it was yesterday.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 2:16 am

        It is not up to you . The company thought otherwise & fired him .

        You can write the CEO a letter.

        You got nuttin boy.

          Ah, the edgy it’s-their-company-they-can-do-what-they-want stance.

          Nothing I’ve said suggested they cannot do what they want so I’m not sure what the relevance of your post is.

        DaMav in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 3:28 am

        The CFO is generally one of the top executive positions as you know. If he were further down the pecking order it would be more debatable.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 4:08 am

        It doesn’t matter if it seems arbitrary to you. The company can do as it wishes with regard to its officers. They had the right to fire him and good reason to fire him.

        All companies have a culture of what’s tolerable and what isn’t. No company I know of would tolerate a high-profile senior officer bringing the shame of deliberately demonstrating his bullying of a little girl, a little fast food employee being made a captive of this bullying who can’t speak back to him except with civility and politeness. Employers will tolerate people getting drunk at the company Christmas party, but if a drunk employee falls down the stairs and sues the company, he should trust that his day will come and they will find a reason to fire him. Adios, asshole. Same for Smith. He provoked it. If he complains about being fired, it will not be unlike the boy who shot his parents and then complained of being an orphan.

          “a little fast food employee being made a captive of this bullying who can’t speak back to him except with civility and politeness.”

          Now we’re getting somewhere. Captive employee. Now you’re getting it.

          Had the woman (and you know what tactic you are using by calling her the little fast food girl, let’s be honest here) told the progressive what she really thinks, what would be the harm?

          Instead she is captive, forced to utter a scripted phrase instead of being herself, a human being with opinions.

          Mr. Terrierist, do you wish to post under a pseudonym all your life or do you wish to be a man and post your true feelings under your real name? Why must we go through this charade?

        [[we as a society buy into this idea of guilt by association far too often.]]

        I find this incredibly ironic of you to say.

        Guilt by association is exactly what was [and is] happening to Chik-Fil-A, and specifically to the clerk in the video.

        The founder of Chik-Fil-A makes a statement about a social issue that annoys quite a number of people – including me – and seemingly everyone declares that it is NOT a statement, but a POLICY.

        A Chicago Alderman went on record as declaring that Chik-Fil-A practices discrimination against gays because its founder actually dares to think only ‘traditional’ marriage is proper.

        Nossir. The Chicago Alderman practices dishonesty and slander by making deliberately false statements. In the meantime, the entire web of independently-owned Chik-Fil-A franchises get painted with the same broad brush.

        This guy broad-brushes a clerk and gets broad-brushed back? I have zero sympathy.

        lichau in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

        “This seems arbitrary to me? How high and in what capacity? Does it depend on industry?”

        Yep, it is arbitrary to some extent. Welcome to the real world. Embarrass the boss in public and don’t be surprised to be escorted out the door.

        I used to tell every new hire that worked directly or nearly so to me that they could come in my office anytime and tell me how stupid my latest decision was, they don’t like the way I part my hair, whatever. As long as the door is closed. I will listen–and made it a policy of giving the employee the benefit of the doubt–they are very often right.

        HOWEVER: if we fail to come to an agreement, we do it my way, because I am the boss. Someday, when you are the boss, it gets to be your way. And, once the door opens, we are side by side and smiling.

        punfundit in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

        Of course it seems arbitrary to you. 1) You lose the argument if it isn’t arbitrary. 2) You don’t understand leadership and business.

        Daiwa in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm

        I’m impressed that was her innate kindness and respect that you saw in that video, not what you casually dismiss as ‘scripted’ replies by a ‘captive employee’. Doubtless she had some training in handling hostile customers, since almost all service industries consider it important, but you can’t script or teach that kind of composure and courtesy in the face of a vile personal insult.

        That there are still young people like Rachel is one of the few reasons to have hope for our future.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I think we all like to think that medical device companies have high standards overall. Our lives depend on the products they manufacture & market.

    Medical Devices are a major American export & Youtube is global. It just takes a few Board members purchase officers to see this guy’s rants & think -eh no way. If that is the sort of exec they employ i’ll go elsewhere. It isn’t the gay stuff it is the sheer class warfare.

    This company & university would have had a Google problem .

    However no one associates Hank Williams jr with ESPN . He don’t need them.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Different rules apply to top executives precisely because they represent the business all the time, not just from 9 to 5? Have you read the comments and learned that far from holding himself out as a private citizen this moron had all his corporate information available on his personal You Tube account where he posted more than one meant to offend video? Every person who viewed his videos could easily learn he was one of the top executives of Vante. Had Smith been a junior accountant it probably would have ended with an apology to the drive-thru worker and a reprimanded for having the company name on You Tube and Facebook. But this idiot told the world he was one of the policy makers at Vante. Because of that they had no choice but to fire him.

    This behavior is simply not done by someone in upper management of any company other than those directly related to politics. The need to keep many opinions to yourself and to realize your behavior reflects on the company 24/7/365 is one reason executives earn the big bucks. It even dictates an executive’s politics to some extent. A top executive contributions either go to the candidate best for the corporation or they hedge bets and give to both.

    This need to serve the corporation is also why several well trafficked blog are operated by people who use pseudonyms. These individuals do not publish their twitter accounts or show up at blogger conferences, either. For business reasons they need to need to keep their personal political opinions isolated from their corporate persona.

    Had Smith shown some discretion he could be both an activist and employed. It’s not all that hard to to come up with a political nom de guerre. Or to manage both personal and political accounts on-line.

      “Different rules apply to top executives precisely because they represent the business all the time, not just from 9 to 5?”

      Again, this seems arbitrary to me. If this is true, then Dan Cathy should not have said what he said and the vast majority of people on this blog voting down Jacobson’s post and upvoting comments in favor of Smith’s firing should have been coming down on Cathy for what he did. And you outlined the reason why.

      “The need to keep many opinions to yourself and to realize your behavior reflects on the company 24/7/365 is one reason executives earn the big bucks.”

      What Cathy said is considered “hate” by a majority in the media and, unfortunately, probably most people now in our PC society, and hate is unbecoming of a company, is it not?

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

        No Spokker. Your definition of hate is not valid.

        By that measure 60% of North Carolinians are guilty & 52 % of Californians just for starters.

        In fact all states where gay marriage is banned are guilty of hate crimes including (Chcago ) Illinois.

        Go big Spok or go home. Why not include all of Asia The Pacific & Africa & Russia & the ME.

        They got them no gay marriages either.

          With all the companies going gay these days, including government funded Amtrak, I am waiting for the accepted firing of employees who are anti-gay marriage. Most in the media will celebrate this.

          Before starting a job, you will have to take the federally mandated evaluation. I hope you pass, comrade. We shouldn’t have been so quick to fire people.

          BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | August 3, 2012 at 2:57 am

          Don’t much bother me dude.

          America must get its business working to global standards . They used to be leaders now being held captive . Sure Gays are a wealthy domestic market but…..

          Exports are the only thing that matters . Without them bringing in that foreign cash you are on a debt wagon unable to repay .

          This is not the time to elevate qualities other than business efficiencies & EXPORTS.

          Many of the leading earners will not do any better with employees being pro -gay marriage.

        tofubamboo in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 7:08 am

        What Cathy said is stated in the Bible and is God’s words, not his. Read some scripture and grab some faith. Secondly, she was harassed and now her face is all over the internet. And his bullying her like that can only be called harassment. You should feel sorry for her, and I certainly think he deserved to get fired.

        Voyager in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 8:24 am

        There’s a difference from replying to a direct question, and heckling a drive-through clerk.

        It’s the same difference between telling one of your customers that they are an f’ing moron, rather than simply explaining to them why this isn’t the best idea.

        Chick-fil-A is family owned. What the owners of a company choose to do and how their actions reflect on their company is up to them. They suffer the loss if their company is harmed. Smith did not own the company and his actions could cause loss to the owners, e.g., stockholders.

        Also, were Smith my employee (I have no employees), I would fire him for being the sort of person who would browbeat someone in a subordinate position. If he did that to this young woman, filmed it, and published it to the world, what might he be doing privately to his subordinates who, even more than her, would fear losing their jobs if they complained? I would fear a later suit by employees for tolerating his behavior after being made aware of his character by this incident.

        Daiwa in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

        The attempt by you and those who agree with you to redefine “disagree with” to mean “hate” is irrational on its face, but is SOP with progressives these days.

    Well, this Arizona firm sure did enjoy punishing an employee for his stunt off company time and not in the company’s image. How’s that for intrusion into one’s life?

    You never mentioned Smith’s going to the girl’s place of employment, filming while bullying her, and posting it on YouTube. What about Smith’s intrusion into her life?

    Harassment takes a lot longer than 30 seconds.

    Really? How did you reach that conclusion?

      spokker in reply to rec_lutheran. | August 3, 2012 at 2:46 am

      “Really? How did you reach that conclusion?”

      After nearly everyone here concluded that what Zimmerman did was not harassment/stalking.

        After nearly everyone here concluded that what Zimmerman did was not harassment/stalking.

        Actually, the debate about Zimmerman was if it was murder or not. You came up with the “harassment/stalking” angle on your own. Incidentally, harassment and stalking are not the same thing, so it is inaccurate for you to try to link the two together.

        I also noticed you did not answer my first question about Smith intruding on the girl’s life. Come to think of it, you have barely mentioned her at all in your other posts, preferring instead to portray Mr. Smith as the victim. Why is that?

          spokker in reply to rec_lutheran. | August 3, 2012 at 6:39 am

          I do not think what he did was harassment and I do not think she is a victim.

          spokker says, “I do not think what he did was harassment and I do not think she is a victim.”

          No? She was almost in tears. His parting shot was, “how do you live with yourself?” He deliberately set out to hurt her, a total stranger who had done nothing whatever but be polite to him.

          He displayed his character for all the world to see, and I can certainly see why any company would ask themselves why they have someone like that working for them.

          Spokker says “I do not think what he did was harassment and I do not think she is a victim.”

          And there is the crux of the problem. Spokker does not think Rachel is a victim. He only sees Adam Smith as a victim because Vante fired him. Rachel was a victim, plain and simple. A definition of victim is: a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency. In this case, she was a victim of Adam Smith’s hatred–even if it was supposed to be a political statement to the company it was specifically, and quite destructively addressed to her. “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand.” That was a personal attack on her. Unnecessary and vulgar.

          As for Adam Smith, he is also a victim, but mostly a victim of his own stupidity and hatred. He let his hatred out and it destroyed his career. I don’t imagine any company will be willing to hire someone, especially into an executive position, who has that little respect for another person who is that willing to denigrate another in such a manner. He is clearly unfit to lead–and that’s what an executive position is, leadership.

          After reading many of Spokker’s posts, all I can see is that he supports Adam Smith. He doesn’t see the reason Smith’s actions were appalling. And that, to me, is the saddest aspect of Spokker’s point of view. If you cannot see why this was such a horrible thing to do, perhaps you need to do a little introspection. But, please, continue to support the hatred. It’s your choice, even if it is deplorable.

          Additionally, Spokker has shown a lot of ignorance of how companies work and how people have “rights”. And that in itself speaks volumes of his lack of understanding of how business (whether public, private, or even government) really operates. Even in government, a person in an executive position displaying such behavior would be fired. Many government employees can be fired for stupid nonsense like this.

          What a person says and does has consequences and repercussions. Spokker’s entitlement mentality, the idea that people are entitled to their job no matter what they say and do, further exposes how naive he is to reality. Perhaps he will wake up, preferably before reality rudely wakes him up.

          I do not think what he did was harassment and I do not think she is a victim. – spokker

          And thus, there is no reason to pay any attention to anything more you have to write or say. For clearly, you live in Opposite Land.

          spokker in reply to rec_lutheran. | August 4, 2012 at 1:31 am

          ““I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand.” That was a personal attack on her.”

          On one hand, we complain about children being told they are innocent little snowflakes and that they should not be expected to take any criticism, and that any criticism is a violation of their right to self-esteem and good vibes, yet the woman at the fast food counter is not expected to withstand the sheer terror of the outspoken activist. What horror she endured. Someone was uncomfortable for a second.

          “He only sees Adam Smith as a victim because Vante fired him.”

          Never said this.

          “Additionally, Spokker has shown a lot of ignorance of how companies work and how people have “rights”.”

          I have not spoken once of Adam Smith’s rights.

          “Spokker’s entitlement mentality, the idea that people are entitled to their job no matter what they say and do”

          I never said he was entitled to his job. But by all means, please show me where I said this.

          My suggestion is just that, a suggestion, that involves no government force and no concept of rights. To assume otherwise is to be intellectually dishonest.

        BD1957 in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm

        Red herring … nice try to change the subject, though.

        Smith found out that actions have consequences. Act like a jerk & your employer might decide you’ve become a liability. He has no one to blame but himself.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 3:39 am

    The company answered this in their statement. They have behavior expectations from their officers. Smith wasn’t just some clerk working in the mail room. He wasn’t just some low-level employee putting in a day’s work for a day’s pay and then it’s over for the day. Smith was the CFO! Get it? CFO! CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER.

    The military has expectations of a certain behavior of decorum and dignity from its officers. Educational institutions have behavior expectations from faculty. Professional as well as college athletes have a code of conduct to adhere to, and doctors, court officers and the clergy all have an expected code of conduct. And, unless it’s Chicago or New Jersy, we generally don’t elect the candidate with a record of poor decisions and bad judgment in his or her personal life. That’s why smear campaigns are so popular during election season – people will not choose to have that person working for we the people when they can choose someone who doesn’t have that record. Vante made that same choice.

    Smith was supposed to be a “professional”. He worked in a very high-profile professional position. He behaved disgracefully in a deliberately public way. It wasn’t a matter of him doing something seedy behind closed doors that he hoped to not be caught doing. He intended to have what he did be seen.

    As a top company officer, Smith had a duty to behave in a way that would not reflect poorly on the company. Not only did he not adhere to that, the idiot went out of his way to make sure the world saw it.

    In any case, the bottom line is that Vante doesn’t “owe” Smith a job.

      Why put owe in quotations or even bring it up. Under no circumstances do I believe anybody owes anyone else a job.

      But you cannot deny that such attitudes have a chilling effect on speech. In this case, it was speech you disagree with. Eventually, it will be speech you agree with and we will see how you feel then.

      I do believe we will see bigoted speech criminalized in our lifetime just as it is in the UK. What is bigoted speech? Well, whatever the so-called victim believes it to be. This is already how it works in the workplace.

        ClintJ in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        It has no such “chilling” effect on free speech. It has a chilling effect on acting like a self-important sap. I don’t see anyone telling Adam Smith that he doesn’t have a right to criticize Chick-fil-A. He’s being told he’s a classless jerk.

        Smith could have chosen a number of other ways to let the world know how he feels about Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A, and no one would have objected. The massive negative response to the way he chose should suggest that maybe he just stepped over the line of civility.

        Daiwa in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        Are you really so thick that you don’t comprehend the difference between government censoring offensive speech or making it illegal and the right of a private company to hold its executives to standards of behavior? Do you really think the latter has anything to do with, or will actually lead to, the former? Talk about straw men. Yikes.

        People like Adam Smith will continue to have the right to be stupid and to do stupid things, but they won’t (and shouldn’t) have the right to be free of any & all consequences for their stupidity. As I said elsewhere in this thread, I highly doubt he would have been fired for respectfully expressing a personal opinion in support of gay marriage, publicly or otherwise, as long as it ended there; I would vehemently disagree with Vante canning him for that. But that’s not what he did. Not even close.

          spokker in reply to Daiwa. | August 4, 2012 at 1:22 am

          “Are you really so thick that you don’t comprehend the difference between government censoring offensive speech or making it illegal and the right of a private company to hold its executives to standards of behavior? ”

          I’ve said nothing of the first amendment and have made it clear that this is a private matter.

          Speaking in general, are you really so thick that you don’t comprehend the effect that the lopsided balance of power between employee and employer, coupled with mandatory arbitration, will have on speech?

          This concept doesn’t just protect their assholes, it protects your assholes too.

          Daiwa in reply to Daiwa. | August 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm

          The First Amendment prohibits Congress from abridging freedom of speech by legislation. No more, no less (as regards speech). It applies only to Congress.

          Employment is voluntary and consensual. Companies are free to abridge at their discretion. Whether we like it is not a Constitutional issue.

      Bigger point (IMO) – – – where did Smit get the idea that he could be a jerk and there’d be no consequences for it?

      Like it or not, when you open your mouth, everyone else gets to decide how they’ll react to it. You don’t have a right to an audience or to have your every utterance applauded. The audience has every bit as much right to its opinion as Smith has to his own.

      From the sound of it, Smith thought his employer wouldn’t care that he behaved like a jackass. He thought wrong.

    zjsky in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

    @ spokker – he is the CFO of a company and should have known better. By haranguing a young girl on camera (who has nothing to do with the personal beliefs of the CEO of Chik-fil-a)and then UPLOADING IT, he displayed a stark amount of poor judgment and impulse control. How can Vante trust the financial well-being of their firm to this sort of man-child?

    “Some people are saying Chick-fil-A is cult-like.”

    It is quite telling that your first post started with this thinly-veiled slam on Chik-fil-a. When you say “some people” do you really mean yourself? In reading all your replies you obviously intellectually support the fired CFO and not the young girl or Chik-fil-A.

    What I write above regarding his poor judgment is something others have pointed out to you. it is 100% true and you seem intelligent therefore you should e able to accept this. He got fired because he was a jerk and put himself and his company in a bad spot. period

    senorcheebo in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

    When you hold a position at the C level (CEO, CFO COO etc) you are accountable for your behavior at all times, even outside of 9 to 5 business hours. Adam Smith’s behavior is reflective of somebody with low emotion intelligence. C level exec’s are in leadership positions and expected to promote respectful exchanges of ideas. A good business leader understands and is respectful of different viewpoints and opinions. It’s ironic he is so blinded by his own self righteousness and disdain for those who may have divergent views, that he cannot see he is the epitome of what he loathes in others.

    I R A Darth Aggie in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

    To fire someone for this and support it is to basically say a firm owns not a limited block of time you voluntarily sell them but your entire life. I wonder if a company should fire you for even showing up and purchasing food yesterday or showing up to protest.

    He wasn’t fired for voicing his opinion. He was fired for being a douchenozzle who brought shame and public ridicule upon his company.

    That, generally speaking, is a firing offense. Particularly in the rarified air of the CxO level.

    Sanddog in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    If you are an employee of my company and your public actions on or off the clock harm my company in any way, I will fire you.

If a guy has to announce that “I’m really a nice guy”, you can take to the bank that person is NOT a nice guy.

He displayed for the entire world that not only is he a bully and a douchebag, but stupid, too.

Given the mindset of the leftists, though, I’m sure that while today he is a bully, tomorrow he will be the honored martyr who gave up his career to oppose Hate.

I see a man enjoying a tasty beverage.

I hope his employer doesn’t have a stick up their ass too.

“Quentin Lewis does not in any way support the values of (insert left-leaning company here). Mr. Lewis’ appearance at Chick-fil-A appreciation day and his boasting of his participation in said event constitutes a symbol of hate that does not in any way represent (insert left-leaning company here again).”

Employers could easily cite MUH VALUES and fire anyone they want, and soon half of all employers will be off-limits due to our political predilections if we are honest about where we stand.

I would rather people state their opinion, even in an insensitive way, rather than everybody clamming up. Smith’s consequence should have been public condemnation, not a loss of his livelihood.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Bwahhhhhmbulance needed for Spokker.

      I’m not the one crying about what some worthless progressive said in a video on the Internet and advocating that he be fired so we can be protected from his inane rantings.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 2:10 am

        Neither are LI posters . But I for one am enjoying it. Yeah yeah I am a sh*t but he is an even bigger turd.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 3:54 am

        We don’t need to be protected from his inane rantings, so quit trying to build straw man arguments. Vante should not have to suffer because their CFO is a bullying moron. Smith brought Vante unwanted negative attention and it would reflect poorly on them to maintain this guy as CFO. They don’t owe him a job or a life or anything else. He was a company officer and supposed to be a professional. No company should have to put up with what Smith brought down on Vante.

        Vante doesn’t owe Smith a job or a living in perpetuity. there are other capable professionals who can take the job and do it without deliberately demonstrating himself to be a bully and a colossally mean jackass to the world.

          Speaking of strawmen, I never spoke of rights nor did I suggest that they owe him a job for life (even Japan got rid of that idea long ago). Freedom of speech does not apply to private interactions such as interactions between an employee and employer or a poster and this blog. But I am advocating that private citizens internalize ideas and concepts embodied in the first amendment or at the very least not to be so sensitive about everything in life.

          The reasoning behind people getting fired for stupid things is itself flawed, as guilt by association is a fallacy we all suffer from.

          Captain Obvious in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | August 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

          “But I am advocating that private citizens internalize ideas and concepts embodied in the first amendment or at the very least not to be so sensitive about everything in life.”

          The problem is you only seem to want to apply this standard to Smith’s employers. Had Smith internalized this pearl of wisdom himself, he’d have never bothered to torment the girl in the first place. Q.E.D.

          “The problem is you only seem to want to apply this standard to Smith’s employers.”

          I do not want and cannot apply this standard to anyone’s business. Only they can.

        punfundit in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

        “Some worthless progressive.”

        Gosh, you must not be a progressive! Ergo, you must be on my side! Gosh, why are we disagreeing with you? Gosh!

        Uh huh. Nice try. Admit it, you’re really David Brock.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 3:44 am

    So, all the rights lay with Smith, and none for the company?

    Since when does the company “owe” Smith a job, especially a high-profile professional position such as CFO?

    Crapgame13 in reply to spokker. | August 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I think your assumption is incorrect. The assumption is he was fired for his politics rather than for being a jerk about his politics.

    He was fired for being a jerk and filming it, and trying to bring attention to it as some sort of statement (which is the whole point of filming it “Look at me, I PWNED Chick-Fil-A”). Content isn’t the issue.

I also want to point out that a CFO is a senior executive in a company. Executives are not covered by the same labor laws most of us are.

Executives can be fired for nothing more than they could not get along with the CEO.

When this guy does something that brings embarrassment to the company, even on his own time, the Company is within its rights to fire him.

I assume he was fired for harassing an individual without cause, thereby needlessly bringing negative attention to his employer.

He can be an activist, but he should not have attacked an innocent individual. There was no justification for committing collateral damage.

This incident calls into question the light treatment of other activists who have targeted innocent individuals at their places of employment and private residences for retributive change.

I don’t think the guy should have gotten fired over it. I will say, however, that the chick-fil-a girl that he abused sure did handle it gracefully. I hope she gets promoted!!

I’m also glad to see a company take a strong stand on civil discourse.

[…] Jacobson at the always excellent Legal Insurrection blog >> Why I’m not cheering the termination of Vante’s CFO for his anti-Chick-fil-A political stunt Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterStumbleUponDiggMoreLinkedInRedditTumblrPrint By Say It Ain't […]

Ok, so what if this likely minimum wage worker had given a far more common response like “kiss my a**” and that had been in the video? She would have lost her job, for a perfectly reasonable reaction to someone trying to provoke same. Why should his job be safe from his shenanigans when hers would not have been. And if you have done something in your private life that becomes a disruption to the companies operation (Their server was down half the day), then you get what you get. When your liabilities outweigh your benefits, it is an employers right to let you go. No one would have known he was an ass if he hadn’t posted it.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 3, 2012 at 3:31 am

My summary after a lot of fun .

Chik Fil A has a great chance to be a global franchise. Nobody does chikin like Southern USA.

The stores look great , nice & clean & the menu is very saleable . Many countries in the world are Christian & would flock to an openly christian organisation.. It is no way a hindrance but a plus.

The rest of them just love them some chikin.

This s so f*kin stupid.

There is an aspect about Smith’s firing that I don’t think people have talked about much. Pretty much everyone strongly dislikes what he did. A few have expressed reservations about his being fired, but no one defends Smith’s grotesque bullying.

As CFO Smith likely had people under his direct supervision. If I were one of the employees supervised by Smith, then even if I disagreed with Dan Cathy’s position about same-sex marriage I would have been frightened by Smith’s actions. To select a Chick-fil-A employee at random, bully her while filming it, and then posting it on YouTube for the purpose of demonizing her and the company she works for – well, would you feel comfortable working for such a creep? It’s not necessary to post a video on the Internet to destroy a person’s career – a less than honest employee review or a bit of malicious gossip can do the trick. Smith’s over-the-top actions raise legitimate questions on how he may treat subordinates in the future.

Who was he trying to impress?
A bad-as* ‘enlightened’ progressive standing up to the evil Chick-Fil-A by taking on an hourly employee and then posting the evidence of his great feat on the internet.
I would think a CFO would have a little more sense than to start his fight with a business by bullying a girl at the drive thru window who has no control over the situation and is just trying to make a buck.
They were correct in dumping him. What business wants a CFO who just told the country he is an idiot? Wouldn’t inspire me to invest or do business with a company who has this guy as an officer.

legacyrepublican | August 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

I don’t think it is a double standard. In your face confrontation either from a conservative or a liberal has no place in the workplace. By contrast, Mr. Cathy was asked and was not actively confronting employees.

How would Mr. Smith have handled future employees coming in with a Chick-fil-a lunch, or shake, or just an iced tea? Given his rant on this video, no employee at Vante would feel safe from a scathing verbal attack.

I don’t believe he was fired for his opinion. I think he was fired for how he confronted others with his opinion. And that makes it a whole different situation.

Looks like tha Adam Smith trolling antic left many sleepless, ’cause comments were posted the whole night long.

I worked for a national, well-known insurance company in the Nashville office where the gay Human Resources manager was TWICE arrested by undercover Metro cops in City parks for solicitation of sex – or whatever the formal charge is called – and his name was PUBLISHED in the paper and the arrests were the talk of the company. He wasn’t fired. And certain notorious Nashville city parks CONTINUE to be a hook up spot for gay men to meet and have sex in the woods.

City parks should be utilized for walkers, runners, tennis players, softball teams, families, etc. – NOT a free gay bar. Who wants to take their children to a park where men cruise around looking for hookups, then slip into the woods together?

If Adam Smith had been arrested for solicitation of male sex in a park, he would have not been fired: too politically incorrect.

He was a CFO, not just an ordinary employee. He was callous and abusive to a worker at a fast food service business – and he chose to film it – and brag about his behavior on the internet. Not a lot of values a company wants to have its top officers put on display. He chose poorly.

Taking the issues of freedom of speech, gay rights, and free enterprise out of this Mr.Smith chose to treat this woman poorly and then “purposefully” chose to make a public video of his private act and expose both himself, this young woman and his actions to the public. As an officer of the company most likely there is some morals clause or other similar conduct standard which factored in to the company’s decision to terminate him. That said, it will be interesting to see who rises to Smith’s defense and comes after the company because surely this can’t be allowed to remain as is without attaching it to some other,larger cause. The phrase getting back to work seems to be absent in America in so many ways.

The fact that Bill can’t tell the difference between how conservatives are bullied and vilified simply for being conservative, and this scumbag jerk who didn’t even have the balls to get out of his car and walk into the restaurant to talk to a manager, but insulted and harassed the random person who happened to be working the drive thru window, sums up everything that is wrong with so-called conservatives.

You have fallen for the narrative that “both sides do it” and “both sides are just as bad”. That is a blatant lie. You could take the worst things said by anyone on the right in the last 50 years and compare it to the average floor speech of your average Democrat in Congress and it wouldn’t even be close. Not even close.

Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh are NOT “just as bad”. But you fall for it every time. You do worse than fall for it. Once you accept the narrative, you do more to promote than the other side does.

Unbelievable. But yet it’s not because it never stops. Wake up. Wise up. And then stand up.

    logos in reply to Jaynie59. | August 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Good point about staying in his car. And, logically, shouldn’t his rant have been directed to a customer for patronizing CFA on CFA Appreciation Day rather than an employee of CFA? Smith didn’t approach customers in line because his rant might have gotten the snot beaten out of him.

Away for a while and unable (mostly) to post, this thread caught my eye. A LI reader/poster almost since its inception, I remember neither as many posts and votes nor the ratio-nearly equal-of thumbs-up thumbs-down responses to a column.

Read the column, watched the video, read the posts. First, to weigh in on the protagonists, Rachel should be the United States Employee of the Year (her parents should be immensely proud); on the other hand, Smith’s everything he’s been called in the posts, to which I’ll add boor, dweeb, and twit.

But Professor, there’s more in this; the thumbs-up thumbs down ratio is interesting. While I think I understand your position re Smith’s departure from Vante, and it’s not clear acknowledging the little we know of its circumstances, I’d wager many of the thumbs-down votes are attributable to loyal readers and supporters who see no reason that he should not have been held accountable for his actions and are a bit dismayed that you would (might) waffle. (I gave you a thumbs-up, but it was one of “held-my-nose” votes.) It was good to see someone held accountable for his actions; it happens all too seldom and good for Vante whose politics I neither know nor care to know. It may be illegal to fire someone for being a boorish, dweeb, and twit, to which I’d say here, “bring it on.”

To add a bit more though, the apparent fascination of posters with separate standards (supposedly higher) for upper level management is baloney. Standards are standards, you have decent standards or you don’t. It’s similar to the “business ethics” crap that’s been handed out in biz schools for years. The problem is that far too many in upper level management believe they possess higher standards and are more ethical just because they’re there; it must be so or they wouldn’t be there. To be a news reader on CBS or ABC implies journalistic superiority, a writer at the NYT or WaPo, superior intellect; a law professor at Haravard, a greater depth of understanding; Attorney General a superior grasp of legal matters, President of the United States . . .

Transparency was to be one of the corner stones of the Obama administration. Well, it hasn’t been in the way he intended us to interpret the promise but perhaps, in a far more important way, it will be the single most important legacy of his administration. It has put on full, open display in all their all their gross ugliness the actions, beliefs, and conduct of his cohort, fellow travelers, and supporters, from a neighborhood Chick-fil-A and the Occupy movement, from Hollywood to the Beltway.

Please, don’t nuance-out on us Professor, stick with Vante, let Smith find someone else for the plaintiff.

delicountessa | August 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

I wonder what the privacy laws are in Arizona? This could work out well for Rachel since she stated that she wasn’t comfortable being interviewed on camera. It’s possible that Vante realizes the same thing. If she sues, this is not something that would go away in a day or so. Mr. Smith, Vante, UA and the video will be played over and over in the media.

Raquel Pinkbullet | August 3, 2012 at 10:55 am

Professor, I am going to have to respectfully disagree. No one denied this idiot his “free speech.” But no one has a “right” to employment. I can promote the KKK, HItler youth, or the New Black Panthers without going to prison, but my employer is not REQUIRED to tolerate my asinine, ignorant, point of view.

A liberal rich 1% CFO douche talking down to an innocent window girl, making minimum wage, how if you are the CEO of Vante, can you justify keeping this douche to REPRESENT your company?

The answer to al tis hooha is that Adam Smith had the right to harass the server (never mind he came off looking like a jerk). Vante and UofA had the right to fire his ass. Dan Cathy had the right to say what he did. This is all called free speech and free will. Everybody can say whatever they want and every company should be able to fire anyone they want. And they do. Unions excepted, of course. Those people have job security the rest of us don’t have.

    colonialBoy in reply to BarbaraS. | August 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    No, BarbaraS, he does NOT have the right to abuse the server, especially as he was verbally attacking her for something for which she didn’t have any personal responsibility.

    I don’t know where the incident actually took place, but as the odds are 50-1 against it being in my state, I am just guessing which statutes might be involved.

    In my state, he would be actionable for violating several criminal and civil statutes. The most obvious has to do with Assault – his sole intent was to cause emotional harm to that young lady. More seriously, it was premeditated – this was not a spur-of-the moment action, he planned ahead of time to drive to that window, ask for a free glass of water, verbally assault her, and make a visual record of the event. If he crossed a political boundary to commit this crime, things get kicked up a notch (State instead of County codes, or Federal instead of State). If he went there because he KNEW he could take advantage of there being a female employee present, then the sexual-whatever portion of the codes become involved. If she is a minor (which I can’t tell – not all such poised individuals are adults), a whole ‘nuther very unpleasant can of worms gets opened.

    Can you imagine how much trouble he would be in if it turns out he told one of his friends beforehand that he knew he’d be able to get away with this because “there’s only a school girl at the window who wouldn’t DARE give me any trouble”? That’s known in the trade as “Conspiracy to Commit Sexual Assault on a Minor”, which is a big deal – if he survives a few years in the State prison (crims are VERY down on SAoaM offenders), for the rest of his life he will be required to register in sexual offenders databases.

    The second major area of criminal violations is less obvious, but the penalties are more serious – Wiretap Laws. They are still called that, although these days, it has rarely been a phone wire being illegally tapped. The more precise description is “improperly intercepted communications”. This is an area where the severity of the violations differ VERY much from state to state. In my state, it is a felony, but unless a warrant has been granted, only ONE of the participants has to be aware of and agree to the recording of a conversation. But in one of our neighbouring states, BOTH must. If that is the case, the MOMENT she asked him not to record the conversation, he should have stopped the recording, and deleted the file. Otherwise it is a felony criminal offence. The same enhancements due to premeditation and crossing political boundaries apply.

    Then there are the civil law considerations – she has the perfect right to sue him for damages caused by the emotional harm he deliberately inflicted upon her. Secondly, his recording her image and uploading it to the web without her permission could be actionable under Libel or Copyright laws (again depending on which State in which this occurred, and how well she is known within her community).

    Her employer has a number of legal avenues available also. Injury to an employee, unauthorized recording of employee dialogue (I used to work in a customer contact job – some of the script they use is actually copyrighted and/or trademarked), unauthorized video recording of commercial premises (IIRC, this falls under industrial espionage regulations, rather than copyright regulations), and, of course, Corporate Libel (although good luck proving damages on THAT).

    No, this brute’s troubles have JUST begun, and Vantes is going to be involved in some major damage control. [NOTE: someone pointed out to me that if he was so unpleasant to this young lady, he probably was already a nasty SOB that the company was not interested in keeping on their payroll. Also Vantes is one of those medical equipment companies that will be affected by some of the many new taxes being imposed by ObamaCare – the other C-level management probably already viewed this Liberal thug’s political philosophies with a certain amount of distaste.]

      spokker in reply to colonialBoy. | August 4, 2012 at 1:40 am

      Cops are using a lot of the same wiretap BS you’re spouting to come down hard on photographers photographing their misdeeds in public. People in general have weird myths they believe about photography and privacy in public spaces. Yeah, someone can take a picture of you. How’s that for “grow up and deal with real life” for you?

      She has no expectation of privacy in a quasi-public space. The filming is legal. What would be illegal if she had told him to leave and he did not. Then that would be trespassing. The police cannot delete his photos or video nor can the business compel him to.

      Everything in your post, about him being brought up on assault and sexual harassment charges is wishful thinking.

        colonialBoy in reply to spokker. | August 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        Sorry, spokker, you know not of what you speak.

        I, on the other hand, aced all of my Business Law courses whilst working on my MBA, and helped provide legal support for a Fortune 100 transportation company (also worked w/finance law at a different company, but that isn’t relevant).

        There are SO MANY laws on the books now, that you can do almost anything in everyday life, and if a district attorney looks hard enough, they can find some obscure piece of legal code for which you can be arrested for violating. I very precisely and accurately stated (whilst madly hedging my comments) which and how statutes could be applied to this incident. I rather doubt they would be, but I just don’t know enough about the legal environment of the locality where this took place.

        As an interesting point of comparison, another group of thugs that recorded and posted a video of their verbally assaulting a woman HAVE been arrested and ARE being charged (but where they were youths, Smith’s a grown man; where she was a mature woman, the C-F-A clerk was just a girl; so who knows what will come of this).

        Your comment about filming police is not quite applicable. The police are public servants performing their duties (for the most part) on public property. In this case, the C-F-A clerk is a private employee performing her duties on privately owned real estate – the public only has the implied right of access to that drive-thru’s window area. So, for example if someone tried to crawl through it, and landed on the other side, they could rightfully be charged w/trespass. It’s for that aspect of things that I posited the use of business espionage code.

        Fast-food service is a very low-margin, cut-throat business – images showing the arrangement of tools and appliance within a non-public work area (such as was recorded by that video) provides valuable information to competitors about work-flow, procedures, employee training, & etc. A well-trained analyst can extract all sorts of useful things from the most mundane of sources.

Raquel Pinkbullet | August 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

And another thing that is baffling to me, why is it every time a LIBERAL steps out of line and suffers consequences you always have conservative bloggers, columnists, etc jumping to defend the liberal’s right to “free speech.” When was the LAST time a LIBERAL blogger stood up for a conservative?

Like I’ve stated above, many conservatives see the LEFT as wrong and misguided, the LEFT see conservatives as EVIL, that need to be destroyed/exorcised, and they utilize any means to that end.

BTW, I am not cheering his firing either but he must have known this would happen. A company cannot let one employee’s public actions reflect on the company. All employees are obligated to further the correct image of the company at all times no matter what position they hold for the good of the company. It is nice to take the high road but what happens when the company’s sales fall off and some employees are let go? That high road can get pretty lonely.

    delicountessa in reply to BarbaraS. | August 3, 2012 at 11:10 am

    BarbaraS, I doubt very seriously if he expected his little video to get more than a few kudos and high fives from his little clique of liberal friends and college students. Having it hit the conservative blogs with headlines such as “Liberal CFO bullies Chick-Fil-A worker” is probably not what he had in mind.

Raquel Pinkbullet | August 3, 2012 at 11:27 am

On another note, I’ve long advocated the firing of employees who self identify as liberals, so to me, this firing is a pittance compared to what I’d like to happen.

And before before people start calling me a “fascist,” let’s not forget that the LEFT is at war with us, and will stop at nothing to destroy every last one of us.

And NO civility doesn’t work with the LEFT, as civility ONLY works with CIVIL people, and the LEFT has proven they are not CIVIL people.

I think you are drawing a false moral equivalence.

Cheer the firing or not, but let’s just keep in mind: Smith was not fired for expressing an opinion, nor was he fired for that opinion.

He was fired for the way he chose to express that opinion, which was to harass an innocent employee, and then, against her wishes, he videotaped the encounter and uploaded it to youtube.

I would not cheer anyone getting fired for having a certain opinion or for expressing it appropriately. But if you choose to express your opinion by berating and humiliating innocent bystanders, don’t expect any sympathy from me.

Fantastic discussion Professor!

Phillep Harding | August 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I cannot view his website, but, as I understand, Adam Smith posted that video in conjunction with his employer’s name, effectively creating the impression that he spoke for his employer on this subject and that his employer supported his political position and abysmal manners.

He created bad publicity for his employer, a no-no for hourly workers and a big “Don’t do that” for salaried employees. They decided to fire him for it.

What other issue is there?

William, you are missing the point entirely. And yes, you are drawing a false moral equivalent.
Yes, you, I , Adam… we all have the right to free speech (although in reality the First Amendment had more to do with speaking out against the government, but I digress). With that right comes responsibilities, one of them being taking responsibility for our actions. Actions have consequences, sometimes good, sometimes bad but they ALWAYS have consequences.
The consequnece of his diatribe was his termination of employment.
No one is saying he didn’t have a right to do what he did but his employer also has a right to exercise their right to free speech and tell him he is fired.
The problem with what happened with Mr Dan Cathy is that government started geting involved and threatening to stop Mr Cathy from opening a business in multiple cities. THAT is a problem. That is one of the things the colonists fought a revolution over, the king trying to silence them.
If Chik-Fil-A was boycotted (as the homosexual crowd tried to do) and lost business then that would be a consequence (bad) of Mr Cathy’s actions. However, business was an all time record for the company on Wednesday, also a consequnce (good) of his actions.

I have spent a fair amount of my life as a (start up) CEO. If I had a senior staff member who did something like this–abusing a fast food clerk. then making it public, I would fire his a** so fast it would make his head spin.

Reason–if you have a “C” in front of your title, you represent the company. You are not an anonymous jerk, you are a jerk with our logo on your forehead. His behavior reflected the values of no company I ever ran. The first and foremost of which was respect for individuals.

Had he written a nasty note to the Chik Fil A CEO–fine–so long as he kept it to himself. I don’t pay people to use their positions in my company to promote ANYTHING–without the Company’s buy in, and when you are Senior Management, you represent the company.

Had he behaved this way and NOT made it public, we would have had a strong discussion. I probably wouldn’t have fired him the first time, but probably would have the second. Abusing clerks isn’t what we do.

Good for Vante, apparently there as some out there with gonads, still.

Not to cause a firestorm, but there are a lot of qualified CFO’s out there.

This whole thing is one of the problems I had with the Clinton stuff. The higher up you go, the less your private life really is your own. POTUS is as high as you go. His behavior compromised his ability to do his job. He should have been removed from office.

Another thing: The First Amendment prohibits the GOVERNMENT from restricting speech; it applies not at all to an employer–or a family. No one is going to burn a flag on my property–although I recognize that the government cannot prohibit same.

The cited jerk had a legal right to do what he did, but not working for me.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to lichau. | August 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    As CFO, he was under an employment contract that no doubt contains a clause concerning actions detrimental to the company. It is standard in business. Unfortunately, he didn’t blank out his face and publish it to Youtube under some nomme de plume. No he put his face, name, and by extension, Vante, out for negative public reaction. He potentially damaged the Vante brand, which is a no-no if you are a corporate officer.

    That’s Business Reality, 101.

    colonialBoy in reply to lichau. | August 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    No, Lichau, he didn’t – see my reply to BarbaraS above. Depending on that young lady’s age, and whether he discussed this w/anyone beforehand, there could be some VERY serious consequences to his actions.

Congratulations Bill. Because of tools like you The Blaze is now setting this asshole up as a victim.

Nice going. Now we’re going to have to go through at least a week of you Beta Male Dickless Wonders wringing your hands over how the Evil Right Wing Christian Conservatives are-oh-so-hateful that he had to leave his home.

Good job.

    logos in reply to Jaynie59. | August 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Go pound sand, Jaynie 59.

    I resent your ad hominem attack on the host of this web site.

    And, how can you blame the Professor for the commentary at The Blaze?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Jaynie59. | August 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    So I’m now responsible for what The Blaze does? I guess you didn’t get the memo on comment section conduct.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to William A. Jacobson. | August 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Hey, Jacobson… the drainage ditch behind my office isn’t draining. It’s full of litter and stinks to high heaven. What are you gonna do about it?

    punfundit in reply to Jaynie59. | August 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Congratulations Jaynie59. Because of tools like you Media Matters is looking for division in the conservative movement.

    Nice going. Now we’re going to have to go through at least a week of Chris Matthews tingling his leg over how the Evil Right Wing Christian Conservatives are-oh-so-hateful and coming apart at the seams.

    Good job.

[…] Prof. Jacobson makes an excellent point: I just can’t cheer.  Yes, he brought it on himself. […]

There are a few things to consider in this situation.

Did Adam Smith have a contractual clause stating regarding acceptable/unnaceptable behavior?

Did Vante have written policies regarding acceptable/unnacceptable behavior.

If Rachel is a minor, posting a video with her as a focal point and identifing her (by nametag in this case) without her parent’s consent may be a violation of state law.

Identifying an individual and posting a video of him/her without his/her consent may be a violation of the law.

But even if this was legal, company policies (withing the framework of the law) dictate hiring/firing practices. If Adam Smith violated company policy, there’s nothing to debate.

    lichau in reply to Mad Jasper. | August 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Most employees these days are “at will”, meaning they agree at time of hiring that they can be fired at any time for any reason. At his level he MAY have a contract; I have written/approved many of these and signed a few. Virtually all have some behavior clause in them,

    Finally, if the HR manual doesn’t have a similar clause in it, the HR manager needs fired. Any decent HR manual written in the last 20 yrs or so gives you an out on this kind of stuff.

    If he worked for me and had a contract with a termination clause in it, I would have fired him anyway and paid the severance.

Henry Hawkins | August 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I fired one of my substance abuse counselors a few years back for posting on facebook a whole album full of pics of him and his buddies getting stupid drunk at a local night club while he wearing one of our promotional tee shirts. I would have fired him anyway, but the tee shirt thing made it so much easier.

Was I wrong? Was I right? I couldn’t care less what others’ opinion might be. It’s my company and on this, my opinion is the only one that counts. Plenty of folks had opinions on the firing, but only one counted, capice?

It’s GOOD to be the king, even in my little self-made kingdom, which is why most people strive to move upward and onward.

Adam Smith placed his personal political beliefs ahead of his employment security and paid a price that was entirely predictable had he taken time to think it through before he acted. Vante dodged a bullet – this clown could have done them some real public relations damage if he’s so highly placed and such a loose cannon.

So many comments so DR.

If it’s up thread, sorry.

This guy has also lost his lecturing gig at Eller College.

I’ve been a director of a public company in the UK. This man was an officer of the company. He was fired for bringing his company into disrepute, for being a bully and for being stupid. Being publicly, offensively stupid when you’re an officer is pretty unforgivable. What was he thinking of when he posted a video of himself on YouTube with all the information linking him to his company? That was really, really, stupid. You’re not paid to be that stupid. If he was like this to a server at a fast food company, what was he like in the office? Did he have form? He might have got away with it if he had been truly indispensable, but he was a CFO. There are loads of them out there. I’m not sorry he got sacked. If he had been a colleague of mine he’d have been sacked for ‘gross misconduct’ and not had a leg to stand on.

theyjustcantstop | August 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm

no i’m not cheering his firing,but i think his co. made the decision they had to make,the special interest groups,and pc politics, have backed everyone,including themselves into a corner.
they’ve decided for their political agenda to involve peoples personal,relion,color,class,then run it into the public arena,to inflict more damage,and making it look like their groups are more powerful than they are.
some businesses are losing,some are gaining,and some will be forced out of business,but it’s the agenda first and foremost.

This company did the right thing. It likely did not terminate Adam to please William A. Jacobson. The company is also doing Adam a service as he may find this a great opportunity to grow the hell up. He likely was a jerk in the office and this opportunity gave the company the ammo needed to execute. I take no joy in seeing anyone lose employment. I have been on both ends of that. It is never pleasant. There was no hue and cry from conservatives to oust this man. There were no demonstrations at Vante by Tea Partiers or young Republicans or even the dumbass Westboro Baptists calling for his head. At least, none that I am aware of. The company needs honorable leaders. Adam, obviously doesn’t fit that bill. Thanks to Adam, everyone knows it. If people derive some satisfaction with Adam’s demise at Vante, so be it. There is nothing wrong with taking some satisfaction in justice righteously served.

Don’t feel too bad for this guy. He’ll hire some shyster leftist lawyer who will sue Vante and either make a mint off them or get his position back with a raise.

Slightly OT, but I had to run an errand this evening and happened to be passing a Chick-fil-A near my home on the way back at about 7pm. There was a small crowd of ‘kiss-on’ protesters out on the street and on the spur of the moment I ducked in to get something, even though I’d already had dinner. The protesters were not on the restaurant property but on the adjacent major street sidewalk, aiming their signs and voices at passing traffic. I saw no harassment of any customers or staff. Nor did I see any same-sex kissing going on inside as I passed the dining area. Went through the drive thru and noticed there was a local CBS affiliate remote van parked in the parking lot. Counted about 18 protesters as I pulled out, some of which were presumably TV crew.
This is Daiwa, reporting not-quite-live, from my local Chick-fil-A. Back to you William.

I think what I am really advocating for is mercy if it is a first offense and his record at the job is otherwise in good standing.

He seriously misread the atmosphere of the moment. The media makes it out to be that the whole country is going gay and that if you preach against “hate,” everybody is going to love you and sing your praises.

While the employer is in no way obliged to give mercy, I would suggest it. This does not mean a suspension without pay is out of the question. I think the goal would be to sway him away from progressivism and pull him closer to the right.

I also see a guy with no one in his corner and that alone makes me want to advocate for mercy. Maybe Mr. Jacobson has some of those feelings in him too.

    punfundit in reply to spokker. | August 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

    1) Nobody is obliged to feel sorry for him. 2) Nobody is obliged to give him a job. 3) Nobody is obliged to pay him just because he speaks his mind.

    All these things you keep agreeing to be true.

    What you are trying to do is make people feeeeeeel bad because they write all these hurtful things. Just admit it. You’re attempting to take the moral high ground and make all these damned Christians feel bad about their conduct because you’re soooooo willing to forgive Adam Smith and these damned Christianists aren’t.

    Just write what you mean. Stop pussyfooting around.

    4) Nobody is obliged to forgive him publicly. 5) No citizen is obliged to forgive him. 6) You don’t speak for Professor Jacobson, so stop arrogantly pretending that you do.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to spokker. | August 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

    “I think what I am really advocating for is mercy if it is a first offense and his record at the job is otherwise in good standing.”

    The biggest word in the English language is ‘if’. You have decided and are advocating before you hold what you identify as the pertinent facts. This is the same error Adam Smith made, isn’t it?

    “He seriously misread the atmosphere of the moment.”

    Again, this may be another fault you share with Adam Smith.

    “While the employer is in no way obliged to give mercy, I would suggest it. This does not mean a suspension without pay is out of the question. I think the goal would be to sway him away from progressivism and pull him closer to the right.”

    You think Adam Smith’s (or anyone else’s) employer ought to have the goal of altering employees’ political beliefs? Yikes. This alone explains your ongoing difficulty with this story.

    “I also see a guy with no one in his corner and that alone makes me want to advocate for mercy.”

    Adam Smith put himself in his corner with his behaviors. If he is alone there, it is by his own doing. As for mercy, will his employer be paying a severance? Will they allow him to continue his health insurance? Will they provide a positive reference letter lauding his work before his CFA stunt? I don’t know and neither do you. You don’t really know anything, but since the man appears to you to stand alone, you advocate mercy. Your mercy comes awfully cheap.

    “Maybe Mr. Jacobson has some of those feelings in him too.”

    Perhaps, but I’m pretty sure he’ll have arrived at any feelings of mercy by an entirely different pathway than you have.

    Please understand that much of the opposition you receive in this thread is because you’ve essentially said, a la Obama, “I don’t have the facts on any of this, but Vante acted stupidly…..”

[…] Professor Jacobson raises a good point about our response to Mr. Smith’s outcome: Do we cheer Mr. Smith’s unfortunate career demise?  […]

Cheering? Perhaps not. But a little schadenfreude can’t be bad.

As has been said ad infinitum on this thread you can’t act like a punk and expect not to be treated like a punk. I just wonder how committed Mr Smith would have been if the person at the window had been a 6’5″ linebacker from the local HS football team. Something tells me he might have been a little more respectful.

One of the things I have heard over and over is “all publicity is not good,” and conversely, “there is such a thing as bad publicity.”

I suspect Arizona is an “at-will” employment state. As such, you have no “right” to your job and can be terminated for any number of reasons. And damaging the company’s relationship with hundreds, thousands or even millions of customers and potential customers is simply a big deal for an officer of any company.

The last thing a company wants to hear repeated around the world is that “So-and-so at XYZ Company is a @#$%@#[email protected]#!” It leaves an impression, even for those who don’t know what “So-and-so” did. The idea that “XYZ Company” has at least one “major @#$%@#[email protected]#” runing the place is a big negative.

The guy probably walked with a 90 day severance package and maybe more. As an officer, he probably had some this stuff written into his employment agreement. And there were probably clauses in that agreement letting him know there were lines he could not cross without giving grounds for dismissal. Either he didn’t care or wasn’t smart enough to pay attention to the fine print. Or he thought his board wouldn’t care.

Either way, nastiness, arrogance, venomous bile, poor judgment and inattention to detail are not traits people find endearing in a C-level appointment.

But, sadly enough, there are ideologues out there who will hire this guy for ideological reasons.

I just hope I don’t see another 7 minute video from the guy any time soon…

I thought it might be good to re-visit what started this whole business, the so-called ‘anti-gay marriage’ comments of Dan Cathy, characterized in that way even by people who support Chick-fil-A and by conservative radio.

So here’s the full interview that lit this fire:

I’ve seen statements to the effect that Chick-fil-A ‘launched an attack on gay marriage’, based on this interview. I must confess to puzzlement that our local conservative talk radio station (owned by Clear Channel, FWIW) characterized these remarks as ‘anti-gay marriage’ in their news coverage. Expressing support of and belief in traditional marriage is not quite the same as being ‘anti-gay marriage’. Cathy didn’t condemn anyone, didn’t criticize anyone, didn’t say he didn’t know how someone could live with themselves if they supported gay marriage… you get the idea.

Being a conservative does not equate to gay-hate, in case the point hasn’t been made already. I have close relatives in gay relationships. I attended the wedding of one; he and his spouse are close with us and we treat them as we do any other members of our family, with affection and respect. Haven’t been to Burning Man with them, yet, but we’ve been invited. The ‘tolerance enforcers’ can’t seem to grasp the ludicrous irony of their intolerance of others’ differing views.


Only a fool would bring this to court no matter how much the law would permit it and I doubt it would permit it. Free speech triumphs it all. The media would have a field day. OTOH, it might bring out another Chick-Fil-A attendance day and be a blowout like the last one. There is no bad publicity.

    colonialBoy in reply to BarbaraS. | August 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Sorry, BarbaraS, that really isn’t the case at all any more. Once digital recording devices became widespread, the number of prosecutions and/or suits for things people have said has exploded.

    You might have the constitutional right to say what you like, but if your speech causes someone demonstrable injury, you will find yourself defending yourself in court.

    While I agree that it is unlikely that legal action will come of this, I still don’t think it is impossible. As I have stated previously, I JUST DON’T KNOW enough about this situation to be confident. Where did this take place? Is she a minor? WHO is she? How has this affected her?

    Contrary to public opinion, in America, the law is NOT enforced evenly. If that composed young lady is a 21-year old working in a large city, she will just have to be satisfied with the praise she is getting for doing her job well. But if it turns out she is the minor dependent of a County Supervisor, and is now suffering nightmares from what just happened to her at her first Summer job, the ex-CFO is DOOMED. (see previous comments)

    There are ALTOGETHER too many plausible scenarios that can be generated from this event. I badly wish I had some accurate details upon which I can base my comments 🙁

Henry Hawkins

Bottom line is all. Mess with that and you are gone. No mercy. No second chances. Companies with a will to succeed in the business world do not put up with this kind of stuff. The phrase “hardheaded businessmen” didn’t come out of think air. Vante is looking out for itself and they should for the sake of their stockholders.

“He seriously misread the atmosphere of the moment.”

In your head…out your mouth with no second thought is no way to go through life, son.

What he is actualy saying is that he thought he would be applauded by more people. That is the only interpretation for his remark.

Pah, I have no sympathy for this jerk. He picked on a kid who had no option of answering back. If he did this to anyone on the street, he would be taking a chance of getting punched in the nose or shot.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to BarbaraS. | August 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    “If he did this to anyone on the street, he would be taking a chance of getting punched in the nose or shot.”

    [Mental Note To Self: Do NOT piss off BarbaraS.]

Here’s a good reason for firing Smith, whether or not he has a right to post this video:

He has disqualified himself as a manager (much less a *senior* manager) at this company. Anyone who holds different views from Smith — or *thinks* Smith holds different views — is now fearful of working for Smith or with Smith, now or in the future. Anyone who was fired by Smith in the past now has a tort case for improper dismissal, and Smith (and the company) are ripe targets for improper dismissal cases in the future.

In sum, it would be evidence of discrimination and/or negligence if Smith’s employer did *NOT* fire him.

    eteam in reply to eteam. | August 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Apologies — should have used the term “wrongful termination” instead of “improper dismissal”.

[…] with denial of business licenses, its products were called “hate chicken,” its employees were rudely confronted, and protesters outside its stores harassed and belittled those who disagreed.  Now […]