You’d think people would get it by now: tweeting about your job is a bad idea. Using your company Twitter to shame breastfeeding moms is an even worse idea, but apparently two Goodwill employees didn’t get the memo. According to KOIN News, Goodwill is under fire after an employee in a McMinnville, Oregon, store posted two tweets to her personal Twitter account shaming a mom for breastfeeding in her checkout line. The tweets read:
Soon after the tweets were posted, people began tweeting at Goodwill to notify them of their employee’s offensive statements and a social media representative for the company responded by doubling down on the anti-breastfeeding stance:
Goodwill has been scrambling to do damage control ever since. Jim Gibbons, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries, issued a personal apology on Friday, along with a statement reaffirming that the company “respects and reinforces” a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.
Gibbons also divulged that the two employees responsible for the tweets have been suspended and that he hopes their actions won’t distract from the ‘good work’ Goodwill is doing across the country.
While this event was totally unacceptable and not at all what Goodwill stands for, it has become a teachable moment to remind and reeducate all of our employees about the rights of nursing moms. Many of our own employees are nursing moms and we proudly support them when they are working.
Several moms staged a nurse-in on Friday in support of the woman mentioned in the original tweet. This is the second time a nurse-in has been staged in a Goodwill store in response to breastfeeding shame. In 2012, a similar incident took place in a store in Wisconsin.
It shouldn’t need to be said this many times, but tweeting about your job is a sure-fire way to land yourself in hot water. Tweeting controversial views from the official Twitter account of your company is even more insane. I don’t know how many people will have to learn this the hard way before the message sinks in, but those employees are lucky they still have a job. Regardless of their feelings about breastfeeding, talking about it as representatives of a company is just a bad idea.
Breasts do, in fact, have a place outside of the ‘strip joint,’ and feeding a baby is not a shameful or private act. It’s not on par with flashing or urinating or any other illogical comparison people try to make, and whether someone has screwed up ideas about breasts or not, women are within their legal rights to feed their children. Personal feelings on the subject are irrelevant.
I hope this controversy was a learning experience not only for the employees involved, but for everyone employed by Goodwill. Stop shaming women for the perfectly normal act of breastfeeding, and also? Stop tweeting about it.