Business

Lengel: Founders Takes a Page From Trump's Playbook


October 24, 2019, 8:23 AM by  Allan Lengel

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President Donald Trump (White House photo)

The truth has come under attack like no other time in modern history under the Trump era. In August, the Washington Post reported that our commander in chief had made 12,019 misleading or false statements since taking office.

In Trump’s world, black is often white and white is often black – that is,  if he says so. Alternative facts matter.

Conversely, his  opponents -- and there are plenty -- resent his constant twisting of the truth -- or more bluntly put, his lies.

So, it may be that Founders Brewing Company’s latest public relations flounder has struck a chord with so many socially conscious people who are tired of the truth being ignored and manipulated in the Trump world. 

The Trump playbook may work for the president,  but in Founders case, it has been an unmitigated disaster, resulting in some bars halting sales of the company’s brew.  

Let me explain.

Tracy Evans, a former events and promotions manager at Founders’ Detroit Taproom, is suing the company for racial discrimination. He was fired; the company says for good cause. Evans says he was subjected to a steady diet of racism, including employees using the N-word.


Tracy Evans (Photo: Facebook)

The company is fighting the suit. And in a deposition, Evan’s lawyer asked the company’s general manager Dominic Ryan if he would simply stipulate that Evans is black. And yes, Evans is black, even if Donald Trump or anyone else says he’s not.

Here’s how the deposition went:

Lawyer : OK, are you aware Tracy is black?

Ryan: What do you mean by that?

Lawyer: Are you aware Tracy is African-American?

Ryan: I’m not sure of his lineage so I can’t answer that.

Lawyer: Alright. Are you aware that Tracy is a man of color?

Ryan: What do you mean by that?

The fallout was significant after the deposition was first published in the Metro Times this week. People were repulsed by the Trumpian answers. And thus, some bars moved to ban the sale of the product.

Perhaps it’s another sign that the truth still matters.  

Instead of doubling down with a lie or a BS story as President Trump often does, Founders needs to simply come clean and say, "yes, we need to do better." But it didn't do that — it defended Ryan's testimony, claiming he was simply being careful because he didn't want to lie under oath. (Disclosure: Evans ids a past co-host of a Deadline Detroit TV show.)

Regardless of Founders' reasons for fighting the suit, Ryan’s answers in the deposition have been a public relations nightmare. It has already lost.

But let's look at the upside. There are likely to be more openings in the Trump cabinet, and who better to fill one than a guy like Ryan, who's willing to turn a blind eye to the truth? 

If you agree, then let's drink to that (though not a Founders beer). 



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