dealing with backlash for making unpopular decisions


When the story of Jian Ghomeshi’s firing from the CBC first crept into public consciousness, initial responses to Ghomeshi’s now viral Facebook plea included no small amount of public outrage directed towards the CBC for seeming to meddle into people’s private lives where they didn’t belong. Indeed, many fans were quick to condemn the CBC’s decision to act so decisively with little public explanation provided. At that time, I was struck with the question of how organizations can make such monumentally difficult decisions, such as firing a popular and respected employee, without being damned if they do and damned if they don’t? Just a month prior, a similar outrage had been directed towards the NFL, who by all accounts took the opposite approach of the CBC, by not taking swift or strong action against player Ray Rice, even when privately confronted with evidence of egregious violent behaviour in his personal life. The organization was eventually publically shamed into taking action. I was left to consider how the Canadian public would feel if, a month from now, it had come out that the CBC was in possession of evidence of violent or criminal behaviour, and chosen to not take the immediate and final action they had. Firing their star player was the last decision the CBC would have ever wanted to deal with, given the immense initial backlash they could have predicted would ensue. As more information began to infiltrate the public sphere, however, all indications were it was the absolutely right, if not immediately popular decision to make.