If you think you’re having a bad day, imagine the plight of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who recently authored a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed critical of the Obama healthcare plan and today is confronted with protests at his company’s stores and a “Boycott Whole Foods” Facebook group that is 1,100 members strong.
My “favorite” part of the story, as reported by Brandweek, is a quote from Scott Frotman, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, whose group is protesting outside Whole Foods stores in Ohio:
“Whole Foods has attempted to wrap itself in a progressive image, but when you peel back the layers you see that it is run by an executive who repeatedly pushes extreme positions.”
Yeah, what an extremist whacko Mr. Mackey is for claiming that health care is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution (sarcasm intended).
The past few weeks have been all sorts of fun for Whole Foods, which has since issued a letter of apology to its cusotmers and done some serious backtracking to separate the opinions of its CEO from its own corporate opinion on the issue (although I’d be surprised if the two were not one and the same), and established a message board on its Website to allow its customers to discuss the issue.
This episode ranks up there with the backlash that hit the Dixie Chicks after band member Natalie Maines made remarks critical of President George W. Bush.
The bottom line is that there truly is no such thing as “free” speech anymore.