Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Young Folly: Sometimes, I almost feel sorry for Wal-Mart. Earlier this year the company’s attempt to show a softer side was thwarted by the publication of an internal memo suggesting ways of cutting employee benefits. Now, the company’s decision to hire normally reliable shill Andrew Young has backfired after he made some culturally insensitive remarks about Jews, Koreans and Middle Easterners in an interview with a black newspaper in Los Angeles.

The reason companies hire Young—he was serving as head of the Working Families for Wal-Mart front group—is because he can normally be depended on to say exactly what his corporate paymasters tell him to say and because (for reasons that escape me) he still has a few shreds of credibility in the black and Hispanic communities.

The company reacted quickly to denounce Young’s bigoted comments. It couldn’t actually fire him, I guess, because that would mean admitting that Working Families is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the retail giant rather than an independent citizens’ group, but he soon announced that he was stepping down.

The question is whether Wal-Mart has been unlucky in the reputation setbacks it has suffered this year, or whether despite it’s best efforts to repair its image, what’s happening is just the company’s true character showing through.


  • At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wal-mart has shown that it has very strong resiliency for the past many decades since it was founded. I think that Wal-Mart can bounce back after this debacle. They should practice PR and HR with integrity not like some other corporate jerks.

  • At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Clearly someone, somewhere failed to do their home work on Mr Young. His links with Nigeria go back many years - look em up. I lived there at the time.


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