Adam Smith meant to be hateful to a very pleasant young woman at Chick-Fil-A yesterday.
Today, he has been terminated as a result.
I’m not cool with this.
Smith was sharing his opinion and his beliefs. I disagree with his conclusions, his ambush of a very professional and poised Chick-Fil-A employee, his choice of words, his smugness, and just about everything about what he did… but I will fight until my last breath for his right to be a bigoted jerk.
I think the company he worked for was put in the unpleasant position of having to cope with the unpalatable actions of their CFO/treasurer. An unknown video turned into a social media firestorm overnight, but I contend that firing him wasn’t the right decision.
I would have had a lot more respect for the company if they stood behind Smith’s decision to share his personal opinion away from the office. They could have said they were respecting his First Amendment rights, just as those who lined up to buy meals from Chick-Fil-A were standing in solidarity for Dan Cathy’s right to have his opinion expressed without penalty.
A perfect outcome to this rotten situation (in my mind) would be for Cathy to offer Smith a job at Chick-Fil-A. We should all support free speech, even if that is speech with which we strongly disagree.
Update: If you want to mock discrimination, there’s better ways to do it.
Additional Update: Folks have made some very good points in the comments, the primary one that made an impact was the point that while government shouldn’t be able to regulate speech, employers do have both a right (and potentially an obligation to their investors) to expect certain standards of behavior from their employees, especially company officers. From that point of view, Smith didn’t just cross the line, he did so in a high profile and especially offensive manner.
I stand corrected.