Christopher Palmeri and Jeff Green, Bloomberg, April 11, 2017

When it comes to bad public relations, it’s pretty tough to top the sight of a United Airlines passenger being dragged, bloodied and screaming, from a flight.

The incident, including two attempts at apology by Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz, has been airing on cable TV and raging on social media for days. But the fiasco is hardly the first self-inflicted corporate blunder. Munoz can take comfort that it’s happened to others, and in many cases the bosses didn’t lose their jobs, as our PR Tales From Hell illustrate.

Over Easter week in 2009, two Domino’s Pizza employees in North Carolina posted a video on YouTube showing one sticking cheese up his nose and pretending to sneeze on a customer’s sandwich. With the clip reaching one million views, management fired the employees, sanitized the store and produced its own video with a formal apology from President Patrick Doyle.

The company’s response was to show outrage and take action, said Davia Temin, head of the New York-based crisis-management firm Temin & Co. CEO David Brandon kept his job and now runs Toys “R” Us Inc. Doyle succeeded him. […read more]