I was so furious when Daiya Cheese posted a video entitled “Being FAT is now illegal in Japan”. Each fat hating comment and stereotype fueled this anger, which is why I quickly wrote up a blot post about it (and posted on facebook and emailed the company). The only thing I was seeing on their facebook page was empty apologies that clearly did not understand why people were upset.
When I got an email from Daiya Cheese requested my phone number so the CEO could give me a call, I knew it was a good sign. When I talked with Greg, CEO, and Andre from the company, my fire was completely put out. While Greg had a good explanation for not being around when the controversy started and being unaware of it, he did not use it as an excuse. Instead, he sincerely apologized for what happened. He told me exactly how he was going to remedy the situation. They were creating a code of conduct for facebook and would delete the really hateful posts by others. He was clearly frustrated with the social media employee, who up until that time had done a good job. He promised to give her training to understanding why the video post was so insulting to others. Andre shared with me his past of being bullied and they both shared how the hateful message from the video post goes directly against what they believe and what the company is about. What a relief!
I felt listened to. The apology was heartfelt. There were no excuses, just accountability. They were being proactive to remedy the situation and were addressing people’s concerns. They kept asking for my feedback and made sure I knew that their doors were open for further communication. I was impressed! Here is a video of Greg apologizing for the incident so you can see for yourself.
Companies have a human component, especially the smaller ones. I understand mistakes can happen. We all make them. To me it is more important how a mistake is handled, than what the mistake itself was. My hope it that this is a learning opportunity for everyone involved, especially the social media person. Daiya Cheese has won me back as a customer and I have new respect for them as a company.
Although there was a lot of hate being smeared across their facebook page, there was also a lot of people speaking up and showing me that fat vegans and their allies are out there and have a beautiful voice. It was nice feeling connected to them and even made some new facebook friends and was introduced to a new blog. I can’t convince every one to be open to the truth and be considerate, but at least I could find others who live like my motto; health at every size, respect for every body.