How bad can a tweet be for business?

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Regret a tweet or a Facebook post you recently sent? Received negative comments for it? Wish you could take it back?

There are a lot of ways for individuals to screw up on social media. Nasty comments, rude tweets, a timeline full of misspellings, and other faux pas. There’s no end to them, but they’re usually easy enough to fix or delete without it seeming like the end of the world.

Not so for those big business accounts. Sure, corporations are people, too—but they’re people under constant scrutiny by a wary, jaded, or sometimes downright angry public.

CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman resigns after offensive George Floyd and coronavirus tweets

Fitness program lost key partnerships, endorsements and the business of hundreds of affiliated gyms around the world after Glassman tweets

Embattled CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman is resigning after he sparked outrage over his response to nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

In a statement Tuesday, Glassman said he decided to retire after he “created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.”

What was the controversy?

In reply to a public health body saying racism was a public health issue, Greg Glassman tweeted on Saturday night: “It’s FLOYD-19”, an apparent reference to Covid-19.

He followed it up with a second tweet saying: “Your failed model quarantined us and now you’re going to model a solution to racism? George Floyd’s brutal murder sparked riots nationally.”

He also called an affiliate “delusional” for questioning why CrossFit had been silent on the killing in Minneapolis.

According to Buzzfeed, hours before posting the fateful tweets, Mr. Glassman had told gym owners on a private Zoom call: “We’re not mourning for George Floyd – I don’t think me or any of my staff are.

“Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it’s the white thing to do.”

 

Following the tweets, Reebok, the official outfitter of the fitness program, told Footwear News they would end their partnership. On 8 June, Glassman issued an apology, stating “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake with the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Glassman said: “I’m stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc, and I have decided to retire”.

“On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.”

He added: “I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions. They are too important to jeopardize.”

His statement was followed by another from Dave Castro, his successor at the helm of the company.

The incoming CEO said: “CrossFit is a community – one that is global, diverse, and tough.”

He added: “Our community is hurt, though. Our shared bond brings together millions of people with differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences.”

Mr. Glassman conceived the company as a high school gymnast in his parents’ garage in California. It is now affiliated with an estimated 13,000 gyms worldwide.

This apology was not accepted by many of the brand’s partner gyms and collaborators, Morning Chalkup, a CrossFit newsletter, is reporting that over 1000 affiliated gyms intend to end their relationship with CrossFit.

It’s never a good time for tech CEOs to be sending tweets like this, but this is a particularly bad week.

Should chief executives ever use the microblogging website? Corporate bosses, after all, have busy schedules and the means to hire professional teams to speak for them. While Twitter may seem all-pervasive at times, plenty of industry titans don’t use it. Social media gives high-profile figures an unfiltered line of communication to the broader public but is it necessary?

Contact RiskEye to know more.

 

 

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