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PR problems and solutions

By Suzanne Spurgeon  August 19, 2010

Even the largest corporations can blow it when it comes to PR.  Take Disney for example.  The happiest place on earth apparently isn't into diversity, or at least that is the message coming through the latest media reports.  A Muslim employee at Disneyland, who wants to wear her religious headscarf to work, was told to go home or work "in the back".  The company line?  It's a violation of the costume policy.  Really?  It comes off like a violation of religious freedom.  Are Disney visitors really so disturbed by this headscarf that its wearer must be kept out of sight?  Time to reexamine company policy and send a clear message to the public that diversity is embraced and out in the open.

Target is another biggie with PR problems.  There have been protests at stores across the country following reports Target made a hefty donation to a GOP candidate who opposes Gay marriage.  And now some shareholders are weighing in and demanding the company review its policy on political contributions.  Target has taken some steps to calm the PR storm, including negotiating with a gay and lesbian group.  Still the protests continue.  I counted just 4 protestors at my local Target store and no shortage of shoppers.  With numbers like that, the story may seem small, but the longer this goes unresolved, the bigger it becomes. Corporations are playing Russian roulette when they make direct political contributions. Target would, I believe, score major points with shoppers and shareholders by taking a big step and announcing the end to political contributions.  Probably wishful thinking.   

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