Versace Versus Race.
Brands often run into bad press. It seems an occupational hazard. Sometimes intentionally to get media coverage and word of mouth. Like the United Colours of Benneton ads of the previous years seemed to. Now Luxury Brand, Versace seems to be in the eye of a storm, they may not have bargained for.
An ex-employee who has been fired by the company has alleged racial discrimination on part of his manager. The Manager’s stance for sacking is that the employee did not ‘understand Luxury’ or ‘know the luxury life’ (details in link below).
Cool Chilli’s Comments
Ironically, the iconic symbol used by Versace is that of Medusa. Medusa from the Greek legend used to be a very beautiful woman and much sought after. She was later penalized and turned hideous for no fault of hers. The Story of Medusa – Video link
It may be that Versace as a Brand and as a company is against intolerance of any kind. But whether it is able to ensure percolation of this philosophy down to the bottom rung is not a easy question to answer. Even in the most rigourously analysed and executed Recruitment programs of MNCs, it is easy for bigots to slip in. If one or two of them are able to establish themselves, slowly they create a small eco-system of their own. This eco-system may superficially follow the Company ‘leitmotif‘, but would have its own agenda. This eco-system is likely to grow unnoticed and unfettered, if most of the outputs expected by the company are in place. Under Adolf Hitler, Germany’s economy really grew.
Trust-worthiness of Ombusdsmen
The victimized employee has no recourse but to approach the company Ombudsman. But in many cases, there may not be enough trust in that office to approach it.
The role and image of internal and external Ombudsmen is very critical. But how comfortable the employee is in trusting these avenues, is not being validated currently.
Most Big Corporates still Small enough to avoid admitting lapses
Even in cases where Organizations eventually pay up for their unwitting negligence or willful connivance, they rarely accept gaps on their side. Companies settle these ‘ticklish/politically loaded’ matters out of court. Even if Court direction is necessitated, the Organization portrays the whole affair in a much softer light. It often doesn’t admit the actual events and gaps that led to them. But the employees somehow get to know the true story and hence feel the drama about Integrity and Honesty is just that, a drama.
The whistle blower is himself or herself often persecuted because they chose not to keep quiet. Like Versace’s logo, Medusa. Goddess Athena cursed Medusa, though the latter was the victim in the Crime committed by Poseidon. Due to Poseidon and Athena, Medusa became the monster that people dreaded to look at. What Travesty !