PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has been one of the biggest critics of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. A Hillary Clinton supporter, Nooyi told reporters last Thursday that neither she nor her supporters felt “safe” now that Trump had been elected.
“I had to answer a lot of questions from my daughters, from our employees. They were all in mourning,” Nooyi said, according to The Washington Post.
“Our employees were all crying,” she added. “And the question that they’re asking, especially those who are not white, ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ LGBT people are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I would have to answer those questions.”
So, how did that work at making her employees safe? Well, they might have been a bit safer, at least from the point of stock prices, if their CEO had kept her mouth shut and avoided such preposterous statements.
According to Yahoo! Finance, PepsiCo stocks have gone from a high of 108.72 down to a low of 101.39 since Election Day. They have since rebounded slightly to 101.85, but that’s still a loss of over 6 percent of the stock’s value.
Perhaps most ominously, the biggest drop occurred on the day Nooyi made her remarks, leaving little doubt that investors were worried about how angry Trump voters would respond to Nooyi’s remarks that they were somehow making them “unsafe.”
“Kellan Terry, a data analyst for the analytics firm Brandwatch, said in an email that mentions of the #BoycottPepsi hashtag had grown to more than 19,000 as of early afternoon Tuesday, after beginning on Saturday. Due to other Trump-related hashtags, Terry said, ‘there is no question that supporters of Donald Trump are now controlling’ those conversations,” The Washington Post reported.
The Post also noted that “(s)ome comments referred to the ethnicity of Nooyi, who was born in India.” Apparently, there is no internet troll too disgusting, obscure or singular for the WaPo to report upon in a concerted effort to smear anyone who voted for the president-elect.
PepsiCo tried to nip it in the bud with an emailed statement. “Mrs. Nooyi misspoke,” it read. “She was referring to the reaction of a group of employees she spoke to who were apprehensive about the outcome of the election. She never intended to imply that all employees feel the same way. We are incredibly proud of the diverse views and backgrounds across our workforce, and we are united in our desire for a brighter future.”
While it may not fix the problem, it shows that PepsiCo understands that insulting slightly less than half of American voters isn’t a good idea. If you don’t believe me, just ask GrubHub, or that CEO who called for Trump to be shot. They’ll tell you how bad an idea it is, too.
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