A prominent public relations agency is warning its publicly traded clients to avoid making any comments on the Roe v. Wade controversy that erupted following a leaked draft of a possible Supreme Court ruling overturning the 1973 decision.
What Happened: The Popular Information news site obtained an internal memo from Zeno, a division of the Edelman public relations consultancy, that included what was described as a “template email to share with client contacts” regarding media inquiries related to Roe v. Wade.
“Do not take a stance you cannot reverse, especially when the decision is not final,” wrote Katie Cwayna, Zeno's executive vice president for media strategy, in the memo. “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.”
Why It Matters: Zeno’s client base includes AstraZeneca AZN, AT&T T, Coca-Cola KO, Hershey's HSY, Netflix NFLX, Salesforce CRM, Scotts Miracle-Gro SMG and Starbucks SBUX. In her memo, Cwayana recommended Zeno’s clients avoid pitching stories to "breaking news networks/outlets" because their reporters might attempt to pressure the company for input on the Roe v. Wade news.
“We anticipate the story will dominate newsfeeds for the rest of the week as more details unfold, so avoid pitching reporters and outlets that focus on breaking news … Do not engage with direct questions about your company’s position. Whether in direct messages or public-facing posts, do not respond to questions about where your company stands on this issue.”
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