In Defense of Tolerance Nazi, Adam Smith…

… Yes. You read that right. I am defending the epic display of douche-baggery exhibited by Adam Smith in this video, that’s now gone viral and led to his firing.

Let’s examine this video briefly. Everything about his smug manner and feeling of “purposefulness” is typical of the Tolerance Nazi. All the classic, and blatantly ironic, characteristics are present; use of bully tactics to promote anti-bullying and being aggressively hateful while protesting hate.

While his arrogance is astounding, I do take into consideration his passion. Whether he’s a douche bag 24/7 or this particular area of activism just sets him off, I know not. He may be a perfectly normal behaving individual any other time of the year. Or he may be an incurable asshole. Either way, he’s perfectly entitled to his opinion and even more perfectly entitled to express it. Granted he expressed it on a totally innocent individual who has no control over the situation and most assuredly has never met Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A, in her entire life. But yes, under protection of the law, he has the right to be as douche-baggery as he likes. Amen. Praise the Lord. God Bless America.

But then he got fired by his employer, Vante, when his video went viral and outraged the people.

TUCSON, AZ–(Marketwire – Aug 2, 2012) – The following is a statement from Vante:
Vante regrets the unfortunate events that transpired yesterday in Tucson between our former CFO/Treasurer Adam Smith and an employee at Chick-fil-A. Effective immediately, Mr. Smith is no longer an employee of our company.

The actions of Mr. Smith do not reflect our corporate values in any manner. Vante is an equal opportunity company with a diverse workforce, which holds diverse opinions. We respect the right of our employees and all Americans to hold and express their personal opinions, however, we also expect our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others.

We hope that the general population does not hold Mr. Smith’s actions against Vante and its employees.

A little part me, that petty part [which actually isn't so little], thinks “justice served”. The other part of me says, “uh oh, you better make sure you’re careful of what you say and write while off the clock”. Which is wrong. I shouldn’t be afraid to express my opinions outside of my work environment. I mean really… look at the stuff I write on here and the outrageous, if not themselves douche-baggery, opinions I profess publicly on a daily basis. I respect Vante’s decision, as a private company, to determine termination of employment as an appropriate response; however, I don’t have to agree with it. Mr. Smith wasn’t representing his company when he had his moment of lapsed sanity. Perhaps if the video was uploaded on Youtube from an office computer while he was supposed to be working or if he was out picking up lunch for himself and co-workers during his lunch break, or even if he was wearing a shirt that said Vante in big letters across his chest, then I might change my position.

Don’t mistake me. I’m not saying Vante is the bad guy. Clearly the bad guy is Mr. Smith and bad guys should deservedly have repercussions for their actions. But the loss of job is a hard thing to recover from, and in this economy recovery is seldom quick. I think internet shaming would have sufficed because chances are that firing Mr. Smith will not change his behavior. He will probably continue to drive around town smugly harassing minimum wage earners or stop mid-meal and wonder aloud in mock horror if the opinions of the employees and manager of the establishment he’s dining at align with his social and politics views.

Now, he’s going to sit at home and blog about the injustice of it all while collecting tax payer funded unemployment benefits imagining himself some sort of martyr activist. In which, nobody wins. And in case you are curious, Mr. Smith has yet to issue an apology to the young woman he verbally abused so maybe that petty little part is rejoicing at his firing after all.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • BillyT92679

    I agree.  I think he’s a dick and South Park did an incredible job in their bullying episode showing how hypocritical guys like Smith are.

    But, I can understand passion and how it makes people irrational.  Not justifying his actions at all, but I can see it. 

    In a sense, the response TO him was akin to his response in the first place. 

    It’s the old Sly Stone song.  Don’t call me —— honky, don’t call me honky ——.

  • lethargic

    Yah, when do you become that which you decry … and all that … but having worked in middle management for a private company in the past … I have to say that finding out that someone in a position of responsibility in my workplace had done something this … stupid, hateful, emotionally immature, lacking in good judgment, etc etc etc … would have convinced me that he could not be trusted to be intelligent, cooperative, mature, and wise in my workplace ….  Besides the sheer embarrassment aspect of it, I betcha this is what the employer was thinking.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      No, I’m pretty positive this is exactly what his previous employer was thinking.  

  • SDG

    He didn’t just verbally abuse someone. He didn’t even just film himself doing it. He shot video and audio of someone else — someone who explicitly told him she was uncomfortable with being filmed, and he continued filming her after she said it. And then he put this immorally obtained video of a private citizen on the Internet.

    That might be a crime (I’m pretty sure it is in at least some states). It certainly crosses the threshold from rudeness to sheer thuggery, aggravated by the fact that his victim was prevented by her job from walking away or defending herself in any way. That he was a senior level executive harassing a lowly drive-through clerk made it even more outrageous.

    Given the public nature of his act, and his senior-level executive status,  it was justifiably a PR disaster for the company. I think they were right to fire him. 

    • Bob

      It’s definitely not a crime to film someone in a public place and post it on the Internet. In public, you have no expectation of privacy. In fact, it’s quite possible you’re being filmed w/o your knowledge right now, by your employer if you’re at work, the gov’t if you’re sitting in a park bench, or a private security company if you’re at a shopping mall.

      The question is whether a company is justified, ever, in firing an employee who publicly expresses an opinion with which the employer disagrees. Assuming the employee does nothing to associate the employer with the opinion.

      And I think the answer is yes. There are such cases. I’m in a job where I have to represent my company in public sometimes. If I posted a video of myself spouting Nazi propaganda on You Tube, my company would be justified in firing me, even if I didn’t mention my company by name. If you Google my name, you’d find my association with my company, and you’d find my Nazi video. It’s fair for the company to be associated with that.

      But. I also think companies have to be REALLY careful in how they exercise that right. Because you really do have the potential for companies to chill public discourse if privately employed people can’t  express their personal opinions without fear of getting fired.

      • SDG

        Bob: “No expectation of privacy” doesn’t mean anyone has an unlimited right to record anyone in public, even if they expressly declare their non-consent, and then distributing that record publicly on the Intranet against the express concerns of the individuals in question. One lawyer tells me that this is at least a civil violation if not a criminal violation, because everyone has a right to their own image and likeness and can control these to some extent. Certainly the difference between filming oneself being an ass and filming a helpless victim who is unable to escape or defend herself (because of her job requirements) is a material difference between a debatable expression of free speech and a fireable offense against another human being. 

        • SDG

          P.S. Internet not Intranet of course, duh

      • Susan Lee

        But, I think there’s a diffference between politely expressing your opinion, and out-of-control ranting.  I would hazard a guess the man was fired for being out of control in public.
        Susan Lee

  • MochaLite

    I disagree.  Vante didn’t fire Smith in an effort to change his behavior, or even really to punish him for his behavior.  They fired him because they have a business to run, clients to woo and keep.  Either everyone in a business is on board with its mission, or they need to go.  Smith was an immediate and international embarrassment, and Vante cut him loose.   Looks like the U. of AZ did the same thing.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      I guess I’m just sympathetic to people going off half cocked… since I suffer from the same symptoms.  

    • Bob

       What do you mean by “the U. of Ariz did the same thing”? Did he also work there? What am I missing?

      • Jeremy Wright

        Earlier this year, Mr. Smith held an adjunct lecturer position at a satellite campus of University of Arizona.  In fact, just yesterday, he was still listed as a consultant for the University.  However, now when you click the link to view his bio, a page comes up telling you that his page cannot be found.  The University has gone on record to state that Mr. Smith was used as an adjunct lecturer until the close of last year’s school year, but has not been offered any further employment opportunities.

        • Gtessex

          Mr. Smith’s contract with the University of Arizona ended on May 20th 2012. According to their press release!  Good chance he won’t get invited back. 

  • Guest

    look his behavior was unacceptable and even though he didn’t ID himself as a Vante employee his youtube  account he posted under did state the he was the CFO of Vente which does make the company look bad. People often  get their view  on a company through it’s employees and when an employee does something like this it often looks poor on the company as well.  He was not fired for his opinion on the manner but the action he took in this manner. Vante had every right to force this guys resignation for his action. 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Thank you for noting that info about his youtube acct. I was unaware of that.

      • Sgream

        Nice, thoughtful comments. First time I’ve visited and didn’t know what to expect when I noticed there was a comments section. Ty…refreshing, nonhostile conversations.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          You’re most welcome. I haven’t started drinking yet, is all. 

  • Joshua Korf

    Big difference between you and him is that people have to actually go to your blog to be abused.  :)  He went and harassed someone in person, considerably worse.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      If you like, I can come to your place of employment and personal abuse you. :)

      • Joshua Korf

        Just a warning:  You’ll need to take a number and its SRO now.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJWUYJNRO7GLQXUYF5YPOK2AVM Abby

    I think Adam Smith is a loose cannon, anyone hiring him is in for a rude awakening.  Imagine working under that arrogant blowhard.  Let him spend a year on $400 a month unemployment……Hope he is working at a Chick- fil-a soon!!!!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Not that would be sweet justice. 

  • Tara

    Totally disagree with you!  I work as a nurse for my company–when I’m out and about people relate me to the hospital where I work–what I do outside does matter, and I do represent the company.   To take your frustration out on an innocent minimum wage worker–he was a bully–he was pure mean, to an innocent young girl.  There is no excuse for that!  I think he should have charges pressed against him for malicious intent.

  • Guest

    I didn’t say they where trying to change his behavior by firing him. But they did fire him because of his behavior was unacceptable and because  it did reflect poorly on him and the company representing. After many people viewing this I doubt anyone would want to do any business with him.

    • simus1

       Given his quick dismissal for cause, one could reasonably infer that the company already had him on a short leash for similar or other reasons.

      • sacredrocheter

        Interesting-you’re most likely correct. Obviously he needed a much shorter leash.

  • Steve Tirone

    The Founders were willing to pledge their fortunes, their lives, and their sacred honor in defense of what they truly believed was important. This douchebag should be willing to pledge his job. Aw, get fired for what you said and did and filmed and narrated and most likely posted on the internet so everyone can see what a big, bold tough guy you are to some minimum-wage cashier who is living in the exact same tough economy as you, so she might not have any choice but to work at Chic-Fil-A whatever her personal opinions of the matter? Don’t cry to me, macho man. Plenty of people have gone before firing squads for their beliefs, he can go on unemployment for his. I’m sick of “passion” being used as the excuse for any sort of bad behavior.

    Oh, and Vante did exactly the right thing by firing this punk-ass bitch. Their business is to manufacture medical devices, not to crusade for social change. Sure, he wasn’t representing them when he pulled this ass-hattery, but he would have represented them in the future, but he’d never be seen as the Vante representative again, he’ll now and forever be the mean and petty bully who picks on inconsequential low-level workers to feel good about himself and who clearly, beyond all possible doubt, demonstrated a complete and utter lack of judgement because even if he didn’t post the thing, he filmed it. I wouldn’t want to work with him no matter my opinions on gay marriage, so it’s a decision to lose the unprofessional fool or lose the rest of his coworkers. And had you ever heard of Vante before this assclown pulled his little self-aggrandizing stunt? No? Well, I’ll bet the management didn’t put this on their short-list of publicity events. He damaged his own company’s name. For that I’d have fired him personally.

  • Apstemp

    I agree that his actions are despicable.  And I don’t believe he was filming in “public,” unless, of course, he had permission from Chic-fil-A to film on their private property.  There certainly must be some recourse to companies that allows them to prevent the harassment of their employees or the disruption of their business by protestors.

    I also believe that the the company was completely within its rights to fire him, and that it was an appropriate action.  He was an executive of the company, not a line employee, and so he could be assumed to represent the company in any behavior.  Executives can be fired for any and no reason.

    That having been said, I feel sorry for him.  I can’t imagine the regret he must feel about now.  Major face-palm.  Life is hard, its harder when you’re stupid.

    Hard to find a new job of that caliber, even in good times.

  • Jeremy Wright

    As a Vante senior officer, Mr. Smith has a responsibility to represent the company’s and its shareholder’s interests.  Medical supplies and devices are a MAJOR american export and YouTube is a global entity.  In this time of economic uncertainty, a company like Vante can take no chances by employing a man who has been shown to treat others with such disrespect.  Would YOU want to deal with a company which employs people of that ilk?  It seems reasonable to believe that their swift action possibly saved accounts which would have been lost otherwise. 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      “It seems reasonable to believe that their swift action possibly saved accounts which would have been lost otherwise. ”
      You do make an excellent point. 

  • JAHM

     Mr Smith posted his video on YouTube, where interested viewers could check his YouTube profiel which identified him as CFO of Vante.  Because viewers could and did check, this linked Vante to Mr. Smith’s rant, damaging the company’s image.  Also, as CFO Smith does not work on the clock, so he represents the company at all times.  He is responsible for the image and financial health of his company, which his actions threatened.  They were right to fire him.

  • JB

    Well said, as immature as its sounds I’m glad that prick got fired. Strip away my desire to see his stupid face crying in his own doucheness it’s true its just freedom of speech both ways. So good luck to you Adam Smith hope you have a more grown up attitude after this… You douchbag, sorry I couldn’t help myself. Oh and by the go back there and apologize to that girl, be a man!

  • Clogged

    He was passionate as you say.  Given the circumstances the young woman at the window was very considerate of his feelings throughout the ordeal.  He and everyone else in this country has a right to be passionate and express their opinions and protest and carry on about things that offend them or that they do not agree with, but what has happened to us as a society and a nation that we have to be so disrespectful to others when trying to get our point across.  It seems that our common decency towards one another has all but disappeared.
    I, for one, would not treat someone else in this manner, nor would I find it acceptable to be treated as such.  This occurred to garnish attention for one’s self.  That seems to be the only reason that I can think as to why such an act like this would happen in the first place.  We have allowed actions like these to become commonplace.  Since we have allowed it, we have to put an end to it.  Stop putting people on blast when they have different opinions and try to have a discussion about it.  Treat others with a little more respect, you’d be surprised at how awfully good it makes you feel. 

  • Kit15

    I have to agree with the other commentators about disagreeing.  This isn’t the same thing as losing your job over stating your opinion.  Mr. Smith was fired because he was abusive and not because of his opinion.  I’m relieved that he didn’t get away with it just because his opinion was (or was thought to be) popular.  This behavior is wrong no matter what this man’s opinion is.

    One good thing that has come out of all of this Chickengate mess is that several of my pro-homosexual marriage friends on facebook are having an important conversation with THEIR peers of varying levels if passion.  Many of them are opening their eyes to what their movement has become in that they are becoming bullies themselves.  Minds aren’t being changed as far as the marriage debate goes.  But at least they may be changing as far as what constitutes hate speech and the extent should it be combated.

  • sacredrocheter

    The problem is his actual position in the company was very visible. Look at his title-CFO/ Treasurer. Very scary stuff having a man in that capacity publicly displaying a total lack of judgement on a You Tube video for all the world to see. He comes off not only as a rude ignorant bully but as someone who is reckless, unbalanced and insensitive to the way his actions might affect others-including his employer.
     
    Not really the traits a company looks for in a CFO/Treasurer.

    Another serious issue is how this CFO/treasurer Douche-bag’s You tube statements would effect other Vante employees. He instantaneously created a hostile work environment where others would be fearful of retaliation if they did not share his douche-bag views. .

    He gave his employer a black eye with his reckless actions which could lead to a loss of business. My guess is he didn’t walk away from his job empty handed and that he came to a lucrative financial agreement with Vente that would spare them the lawsuits he surely would have filed against them. If he was not willing to recapitulate and apologize to Chick-fil-A and the employee he bullied, then he probably gave Vante no options.

  • Mike

    Well, I was agreeing with you until I found out that Smith was CFO, at which time my eyes bugged out like a tromped-on toad’s.  As several posters have already noted, Smith was not canned for his views per se but for his astoundingly bad judgement and lack of integrity.  His employer was absolutely correct and justified in terminating him immediately.

  • Indian

    I think he somehow identified he worked for Vante when he posted that YouTube video … thats why Vante got hundreds of phone calls. He should have posted as a private person without mentioning his employer … that did him in.

  • Julie Klare

    Just for the record, if you’re fired for a reason, you can’t collect unemployment benefits. 

  • Kristen inDallas

    where i used to work it was a typical office setting but with occasional interaction with public officials. One of the other girls moonlighted at a waitress at a hooters-esque type of establishment. When she was found out she got fired because of some claim that this other job reflected poorly on the company (I suspect it had more to do with a certain politician being embarressed about going to the establishment and being found out than a reflection on her). Anyway, my point is that plenty of people plenty get fired everyday for actions not at all related to their job if they are considered to be in poor judgement or reflect badly on the company’s image, whatever that image might be.) Smith reflects poorly on his company’s image and they are not obligated to employ him. No one has a right to a job, you get one by merit. He no longer merits that job in the eyes of his employer. Now do I think he should be publicly shamed for the rest of his life never offered another job and wind up homeless on the street? Absolutely not. But I also don’t think anyone owes him anything. Whatever opportunity he gets at this point will be an act of charity, from someone who believes people can change and become better human beings. I hope he gets a job offer at a church…


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