Throwback Thursday: Photo under Fire

The Redskins are coming under fire regularly for their inherently racist name, and he already controversial Redskins caused a ripple on social media this week. This time it wasn’t from their owner but their cheerleaders. After the cheerleaders posted their #TrendyTuesday (made up of the cheerleaders wearing throwback outfits–one of which was a Native American outfit), the controversy began.

Sometimes, Instagram isn’t good for the brand. This Throwback Thursday, let’s take a look at some other times photos circulated on social media, causing controversy.

Last summer, a Taco Bell employee photographed a fellow employee licking a stack of taco shells. Taco Bell claimed the shells were going to be thrown out, and the photo was intended for an internal contest where employees would show themselves enjoying the first bite of a product. However, the photo was not submitted to the contest and instead posted to Facebook. From there, another person posted the photo to Taco Bell’s official Facebook page expressing disappointment in how the company’s employees handle both food products and what they post on the Internet. Taco Bell quickly took action to avoid misinterpretation of the photo and fired both the employee licking the tacos as well as the one who took the picture.

Similarly, a Wendy’s employee was photographed eating soft serve directly out of the machine. The picture was posted to Reddit with the accompanying caption suggesting that the photographer was a customer who was disgusted by the sight and chose not to purchase anything. However, users commented their bewilderment of why an employee would do something so brazen in front of a customer and how could the customer have taken the picture from behind the counter, suggesting the photographer was a fellow employee. As of yet, Wendy’s has been actively searching for the perpetrator, but hasn’t found him.

There are many stories like this. A Taco Bell employee urinated on a nacho platter, a Burger King employee stood on lettuce, etc. Each time one of these employees did something stupid, they documented it. Now we all know that some lazy employees will no doubt get up to this kind of nonsense somehow, no matter what kind of supervision we provide. That doesn’t make these companies’ actions inappropriate, however. I certainly wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant if these guys were still allowed to work there.

Certainly the specter of being fired for these actions isn’t keeping employees from engaging in this type of behavior, and it may be that they expect to be fired and accept it because they don’t see a fast food job as being a big part of their career down the line. Maybe the public shaming involved after these photos reach the press is what it’ll take to discourage this kind of behavior, but for now firing is the only reasonable course of action these companies can take to preserve their brands.

At the end of the day, the Redskins Cheerleaders still have their jobs… but will they always have their name?

Cover Photo Source: dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

Kaz is a Junior Executive at SJG. He earned BAs in English Writing and Business Marketing at Illinois Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing an MA in Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin. Outside the office, Kaz consumes gobs of media including but not limited to books, magazines, music, movies and television.