In recent months some of the nation’s biggest companies and best known brands have fallen victim to bone-headed PR mishaps. Here are six companies that have had a rough PR day so far this year.
AA Chairman Fired
Automotive breakdown service company AA recently fired their chairman Bob Mackenzie for what company dubbed “gross misconduct.” The first released few details of his behavior, but did confirm that Mackenzie would be replaced with John Leach. The news quickly set off a bomb in their stock prices, plummeting their worth by 18% and representing a $200 million drop in the market valuation.
McDonald’s Employee Shared Disgusting Picture
An employee at a Louisiana McDonald’s location was fired after sharing a photo on social media that show the drip tray from their ice cream machines covered in various colors of mold. The image was quickly picked up by various web outlets, who reached out the former employee, who has been named only as Nick. The man says he was fired after releasing the nauseating photo claiming he wanted to educate consumers about the conditions are fast food restaurants. McDonald’s responded by claiming that the photos showed a part of their soft serve ice cream trays that are not in contact with any other food and are cleaned regularly.
Google Under Fire For Questionable Research
Web giant Google has raised eyebrows after the Wall Street Journal posted a report that they have paid significant sums of money to obtain skewed research reports. The Journal reporting claims that Google may have paid researchers between $5,000 and $400,000 to produce studies that argue against market regulations that impede Google’s interests. The report cited as many as 329 research papers identified by the Campaign for Accountability advocacy group as having been funded at least in part by Google.
Trump Hotels Hacked
As many as 14 Trump hotels were hacked between August 2016 and March 2017. News of the hacks has been confirmed by Trump International Hotels Management and they claim that hackers were able to obtain guest names, addresses and phone numbers as well as credit card information for some customers. The company learned of the hacks earlier this summer when they were contacted by Sabre SynXis Central Reservations. The booking and security firm reported that unauthorized parties had breached the security systems which would allow them to access sensitive customer data. They have since released a statement noting that customer data security is one of their top priorities.
Airline Forced Pregnancy Tests on Applicants
Spanish airline Iberia has been fined after forcing female job applicants to submit a pregnancy test. The company initially defended the policy claiming it was a measure to ensure “the wellbeing of the baby and future mother.” Government regulators were not amused, however, and have slapped the carrier with a 25,000 euro fine for gender discrimination. They later claimed that the tests were not to withhold jobs from pregnant applicants but to better assign them to tasks that would involve less physical duties.
Spotify Addresses ‘Fake Artist’ Rumor
Music streaming service Spotify has addressed the persistent rumor that they have been planting fake artists in their popular playlists to avoid paying royalties to more popular acts. Music Business Worldwide and later Vulture both accused the service of working with music producers to create songs on spec that would be owned outright by Spotify and could take the place of songs by real artists, for which they’d have to pay royalties. Spotify has since released a statement calling the allegation “categorically untrue” and affirming that all of their music is licensed they pay royalties to every artist on their playlists.