A recent report suggests that RedState’s Brad Slager was on to something when he pointed out the conspicuous silence coming from Wall Street on the abortion debate. One of the world’s largest public relations firms is telling its clients to exercise their right to remain silent, after a draft Supreme Court opinion was leaked to the public indicating it might overturn Roe v. Wade. That has sparked a national conversation on abortion, and the role of the federal government in regulating it.
Judd Legum’s Substack publication Popular Information reported:
A massive public relations firm, Zeno, is privately advising its high-profile corporate clients to avoid commenting on the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, according to an internal communication obtained by Popular Information.
Some of Zeno’s clients include Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Netflix, Starbucks, and others.
Katie Cwayna, the company’s Executive Vice President for Media Strategy sent a template email to share with the company’s clients. It warns clients that the media “will look for corporations to take a stand and make their views known.”
However, Cwayna insists companies should shut the hole under their corporate noses on the matter. From the email:
Do not take a stance you cannot reverse, especially when the decision is not final. This topic is a textbook “50/50” issue. Subjects that divide the country can sometimes be no-win situations for companies because regardless of what they do they will alienate at least 15 to 30 percent of their stakeholders… Do not assume that all of your employees, customers or investors share your view.
The vice president further cautioned corporations to watch out for media “fishing” for opinions on controversial matters. “Often during controversy, media will make general inquiries to multiple peer organizations, in which the first one to “raise its hand” becomes the lead. In a case like this, being at the center is not advisable so be judicious if/how general inquiries are managed,” the message read.
The letter continues, advising clients to avoid engaging with “direct questions about your company’s position,” and to “not respond to questions about where your company stands on this issue.”
Zeno CEO Barby Siegel responded to a request for comment from Popular Information claiming the email “does not accurately reflect Zeno’s position or the range of counsel that we are providing to clients.”
It was meant to advise clients within the first 24 hours of breaking news, and its intent was to counsel clients to be measured in their immediate response to a complex developing story.
Siegel also explained that the company believes in “equal access to healthcare for all, and a woman’s right to make decisions about her healthcare,” but recognizes that “we live in a world with different opinions and different views.”
Either way, it is rather telling that a prominent PR firm understands the importance of corporations remaining silent on controversial issues. Perhaps Disney could have benefitted from enlisting Zeno’s services before its leadership decided to kowtow to the woke fringe in its ranks.
After the Disney debacle, it is possible that major corporations might pull back from woke corporatism as it becomes less profitable. It may have been useful after the murder of George Floyd, but there are indications that it might start causing more harm than good. Perhaps this will be the beginning of corporations moving back to being apolitical. A guy can dream, can’t he?