Matt Maloney, CEO of GrubHub, recently caused a media frenzy with an email he sent to his staff in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the US election.
With news platforms reporting headlines such as “CEO threatens to fire staff who voted for Trump”, it is understandable that online reviews have been pouring in branding Matt’s actions as “mean and manipulative”.
With the noise of the media screaming in our ears, it’s hard to see Matt’s email in the way he perhaps intended. But was it really a threat against people who voted Trump? Or was he simply expressing a passionate belief in equality and diversity in the workplace?
The line that caused the media frenzy
I can see why some people took Matt’s email as an attack against anybody who voted for Trump. After all, his email expressed disgust at a lot of Trump’s statements during the run up to the US election, and then ended with a very powerful line:
“If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here.”
Angry people have taken to Twitter, asking others to Boycott the popular food ordering and delivery service. But is it possible that this has been blown out of proportion, and that Matt’s intentions were only to show his workforce how much he cared about them?
Building a culture of support and inclusion
There are several lines in Matt’s emails that media platforms are failing to publish. In fact, a lot of what Matt wrote seems to be more about confirming his company’s values of support and inclusiveness.
“We have worked for years cultivating a culture of support and inclusiveness. We must bring together different perspectives to continue innovating – including all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual, cultural or ideological preferences”
To me, this sounds like somebody who is simply defending a belief in treating people fairly and equally. It does not sound like somebody who is trying to scare his employees into supporting a particular political party.
Now, if Matt was indeed threatening to fire anybody who voted Trump, then I would be first in line to call for boycotts. But I don’t think that was his intention.
Maybe he acted emotionally, and maybe he was a bit too dramatic with his choice of language. But if he really wanted Trump supporters to resign, then why would he have said that his workforce should give the new administration their “open minds and a chance to lead”?
In a later press release published on GrubHub’s blog, Matt attempts to explain his actions:
“Some of the statements in my email have been misconstrued. I want to clarify that I did not ask for anyone to resign if they voted for Trump. To the contrary, the message is that we do not tolerate discriminatory activity or hateful commentary in the workplace, and that we will stand up for our employees”
Hateful political threat, or passionate message of support?
Matt’s email is open to interpretation. But to me, I see the words of a man who feels passionate about building a culture of inclusion and diversity.
Do you think Matt’s email deserves calls for boycotts and media outrage? Or do you think it was a moment of passion with good intentions at heart?