An emotional post-election e-mail from GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney to the company’s employees is being condemned by Donald Trump supporters as “hateful” and “intolerant” for suggesting that workers unwilling to reject Trump’s “hateful attitudes” and “intolerance” ought to resign.
The message, sent on 9 November 2016 to employees of the mobile food ordering company, left no doubt as to Maloney’s feelings about the election results:
SUBJECT: So … that happened … what’s next?
I’m still trying to reconcile my own worldview with the overwhelming message that was delivered last night. Clearly there are a lot of people angry and scared as the antithesis of every modern presidential candidate won and will be our next president.
While demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior — and these views, have no place at GrubHub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination.
We have worked for years cultivating a culture of support and inclusiveness. I firmly believe that we must bring together different perspectives to continue innovating — including all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual, cultural or ideological preferences. We are better, faster and stronger together.
Further I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can. As we all try to understand what this vote means to us, I want to affirm to anyone on our team that is scared or feels personally exposed, that I and everyone else here at GrubHub will fight for your dignity and your right to make a better life for yourself and your family here in the United States.
If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.
I want to repeat what Hillary said this morning, that the new administration deserves our open minds and a chance to lead, but never stop believing that the fight for what’s right is worth it.
Predictably, the message went viral. Just as predictably, the social media backlash was terrible and swift:
— Linda Suhler, Ph.D. (@LindaSuhler) November 10, 2016
— Ryan (@R1Y4A5N1) November 10, 2016
The Chicago Tribune reported that thousands of people reacted to the e-mail with tweets hashtagged “#boycottgrubhub.” Some even called for Maloney to step down. According to Forbes magazine, the company’s stock price had plunged 3.8% by the morning of 11 November, despite the CEO’s attempt to minimize the blowback by issuing this clarification:
Inclusion and Tolerance in the Workplace
This year’s presidential election was undoubtedly divisive and left many of our employees feeling concerned. In response, I wrote a company-wide email that was intended to advocate for inclusion and tolerance — regardless of political affiliation — during this time of transition for our country.
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. I would never make such a demand. To the contrary, the message of the email is that we do not tolerate discriminatory activity or hateful commentary in the workplace, and that we will stand up for our employees.
Grubhub welcomes and accepts employees with all political beliefs, no matter who they voted for in this or any election. We do not discriminate on the basis of someone’s principles, or political or other beliefs.
I deeply respect the right of all citizens to vote for the candidate of their choice. In fact, I offered extra flexibility on Tuesday and encouraged all our employees to go vote. There is a place for all points of view at Grubhub. We value diverse perspectives and believe those perspectives help to create a better product and a better workplace culture.
Grubhub’s leadership team has worked for years to create a culture of support and inclusiveness. I firmly believe that we must bring together different perspectives to continue innovating. We are better, faster and stronger together, and so is America.
Posted by Matt Maloney, GrubHub CEO
To be fair, Maloney is technically correct when he says he didn’t ask anyone to resign based on whom they voted for. Nor, logically speaking, is it hateful and intolerant of him to refuse to accept hatred and intolerance. What’s really at the heart of the controversy is his characterization of Trump as the embodiment of those negative attributes combined with his declaration that they have no place in his company, or this country. Given that enough American citizens voted for Donald Trump to make him president, the rest of the electorate can only hope it was because they disagreed with Maloney about Trump’s character, not about hatred and intolerance.
An equity research analyst consulted by the Tribune said the flap is unlikely to have a lasting impact on GrubHub’s business.