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Arizona business executive fired for video criticizing Chick-fil-A

Friday, August 3, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. — A Tucson businessman was fired from his job on Thursday after posting a video online of himself in a Chick-fil-A drive-thru the day prior, in which he voiced his opposition to the company’s CEO and the chain’s financial support of anti-gay organizations.

Adam Smith, the Chief Financial Officer at Vante, a Tucson medical manufacturing company, on his own personal time and with no connection to his employer, filmed a video “protest” of Chick-fil-A and posted it to his YouTube account.

In the brief video — filmed Wednesday on the national Chick-fil-A “appreciation day” in which marriage equality opponents turned out in droves to support the anti-gay restaurant chain — Smith orders a free water at the drive-thru, and proceeds to tell the Chick-fil-A server his opinion of the company.

Watch:

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Roger Vogel, CEO of Vante, was quick to distance his company from Smith, and said, “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,” the company said, in a statement.

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

“We do not expect our executives to behave that way,” Vogel told KVOA-TV. “We expect them to be professional and civil.”

Smith previously taught as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Arizona but does not currently hold a position with university.

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81 more reader comments:

  1. Its seems we can’t express our 1st Amendment like the fast food giant. hmmm Where is the outcry?

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:43pm
  2. They should root in hell D:

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:44pm
  3. so we can’t stand up to the hate, but the haters can stand up to equality and love? Hypocrite and double standard much? SMDH.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:46pm
  4. of course he got fired. he works for the company. if you don’t like what the company is doing you shouldn’t work for them. I’m gay and all for gay rights but this is just common sense at aty job if you criticize it you probably are going to get canned.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:46pm
  5. he’ll sue and get his job back. You cannot fire people just for making a video on their own time.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:46pm
  6. There will be an outcry. Give it time.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:47pm
  7. This is stupid. He shouldn’t have been fired.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:47pm
  8. no he won’t steven. because at any job its your job to represent the company outside of the job as well. to do something that defaces the company is grounds for termination.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:47pm
  9. let them dig their own grave. They are doing a fine job of it.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:47pm
  10. He should have claimed it was his RELIGIOUS beliefs and sue for freedom of speech.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:47pm
  11. Off duty protections for off duty conduct….then again it is Arizona, right? Good luck to him.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:48pm
  12. I support the message and applaud the effort, but I can also understand the employer’s point of view. There are plenty of times when we all dip below a certain level of professionalism, but broadcasting it on the internet isn’t always a good idea (says the guy with a profile pic of himself kissing an alligator).

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:48pm
  13. Well thats illegal

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:51pm
  14. Dani he wasn’t representing anyone outside the company. It was made on his own personal time.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:51pm
  15. I feel bad for the poor young woman working at the drive through though. She looked like she was about to cry. It isn’t her fault. And frankly, a rich white executive driving through to chastize the minimum wage female employee, who is probably worried she will say something wrong and get fired, isn’t too impressive to me. Ironic that he ended up getting fired for it.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:51pm
  16. Wow, an employer can rule your life after hours and it’s ok?

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:51pm
  17. Yes, where are the First Amendment cheerleaders on this one?

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:52pm
  18. lol the look on her face when he starts talking is priceless LOL

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:52pm
  19. Dani, first of all, he does not work for hat-fil-a. He works ( worked) for a Medical Manufacturing Company called Vante. Secondly, that is unjust termination. and if he chooses to pursue that option, he will get a financial reward or even his job back. Honestly, would you want your old job back within a bigoted company?

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:53pm
  20. @ Tim Friday, did you get fired for standing up for your rights? BIG Difference between standing up for your rights and getting fired. Funniest part is he’s straight so no one is even crying for sexual orientation discrimination.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:54pm
  21. When you are in such a high position you should act in a respectable manner in all instances, just like if a solider on his own personal time gets drunk and draws attention to himself he is responsible. Also this guy was harassing someone simply doing her job. He was pushing his views on her while she was acting in a professional manner.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:54pm
  22. That guy is a dick. The girl at the drive through is innocent, and she was nice, and professional.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:56pm
  23. Steven yes it may have been out of work. but he represents the company AND he posted it online for everyone to see. that is publicly defacing the company. not to mention for disagreeing with them so much he sure was alright accepting their paychecks. same with any other company. You have the freedom to criticize them all you want. and they have the right to stop you from marring their name while you work for them. come on people. think about it. that would be like me going to work for Best Buy and then posting a video saying how unfair they were and how much i didn’t like what they stand for. A. what the hell am i doing working for them? B. They have every right to fire me for such actions. He won’t be able to sue and he definitely won’t be getting his job back and its his fault. He should have been smarter about it, i don’t agree with that dan cathy says and stands for but he has the right to it and to let his business reflect those views. its called equality and freedom of speech which means your opinion isn’t law but you have your right to it.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:56pm
  24. I have to agree with Jill Stevens. We do deserve our say, but there’s no reason to act like a complete prick to someone who happens to work the front lines.

    This girl could have been someone who supported marriage equality. Lambasting this young woman did nothing but give the anti-gay groups ammunition to falsely generalize all of us as angry and misdirected as the guy in the video.

    Whether the guy deserved to get fired for his outburst is a completely different story, and should be discussed separately. Blaming him getting fired on Chick-Fil-A is irrational; he made the choice to go take this action, and his employer made the choice to fire him. The fact that Chick-Fil-A happened to be involved was largely irrelevant.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:57pm
  25. Dani, he didn’t represent Chit-fil-hate, and he posted it on his own page, not his own companies page, he did this on his own time and didn’t represent anything.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:58pm
  26. THATS FUCKED UP . No he got fired for taking up for gay rights the company he worked for is probly a supporter of cjick-fli-a

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 3:59pm
  27. and whether he worked for chick-fil-a or not he represents a company at a high level and he shouldn’t behave that way in a public setting. Just like if i were to work at a company and went to some crazy wild party and acted like an idiot and there was any way to link me back to the company..they have a reason for termination. thats the risk you run when you take a job

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:00pm
  28. Dani, 1 thing to add, he never mentioned once about his own company either.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:01pm
  29. Geez Dani, you are a broken record. He didn’t mention his company and is allowed to be politically active on his own time. Mr. Cathy has free speech, but because this guy wasn’t the CEO, he has no right to freedom of speech?

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:02pm
  30. Umm he can sue for discrimination, I understand looking good for a company at work but I bet thay don’t pay him for doing stuff on his own time… that’s just like saying jo blow is a CEO of a bank when he leaves work he likes to goto strip clubs and getting shit faced.. that is NOT an acceptable reason for grounds of being terminated… if u don’t belive me go read the constitution or better yet go check out some law BOOKS AND READ THEM!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:02pm
  31. Dani, he worked for a medical supply company, not chick-fila. honestly if you want to have a debate, at least read the article.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:02pm
  32. Better yet read the story of Harvey milk he was a top dog and was gay

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:04pm
  33. Well,I’m not surprised,given the current social and political climate in this country. Were this pre-Civil Rights Act, he would have been fired-or worse-for supporting racial equality.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:05pm
  34. It’s sad to me that he was personally attacking the girl, but it is RIDICULOUS that he’d be FIRED over something like that…

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:09pm
  35. at will state. needs no reason to fire.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:11pm
  36. You’re all incredibly naive. It is completely acceptable that Mr Smith was fired for his actions. As CFO, it is understood that he must conduct himself in a professional manner. Remember the Congressman who tweeted pics of his wee wee by mistake? His party was going to force him out so he resigned before he got fired. Again, Mr Smith does have the right to Free Speech (the govt didn’t arrest him after all), but he still has to live with the consequences of that speech. Freedom of Speech only applies to govt prosecution. Private organizations can respond however they’d like.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:13pm
  37. Its not illegal.. sad to say in many states you can be fired just for being gay..sorry I live in one of those backward states:(

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:13pm
  38. Oh, and he’s a tool.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:14pm
  39. send them Vante a message. http://www.vante.com/index.php

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:17pm
  40. I think it is a shame he took it out on the poor girl at the window. She was doing her job. The best way to boycott is to not go there…plain and simple. Some people have entirely too much time on their hands. I completely understand why he was fired…even though he was on his own time. He is an executive of a company. He represents the company even on his own time. I can appreciate his opinion, I can appreciate that he got his free water, but………..

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:19pm
  41. Just awful. His employer should support him!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:19pm
  42. He complained to the wrong person – I guess he thought DAN CATHY is a counter girl – and maybe he is

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:25pm
  43. Sorry that’s fucked where’s free speech this is America

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:28pm
  44. I think this was not a reason to fire him, but he over did it at the drive-thru. It should have asked for water, take the water, mentioned that he disagree with the company stands on gay marriage and move on.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:34pm
  45. What??

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:38pm
  46. He is about to win alot of money.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:38pm
  47. Yea so much for that whole “freedom of speech” bit. Where is the line leading up to help him sustain himself from being fired? To those of you who were wrapped around that damn line for defending so called “freedom of speech”, wrap yourselves around his home to help him out. SMDH, crazy.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:41pm
  48. He deserves support.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:51pm
  49. I think he was wrong to do this to the employee…she’s just trying to earn aliving and is not an officer in a corp. with a big salary… maybe she cant get a job somewhere else…

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:55pm
  50. i wasn’t able to watch the video until just now and i still stand by my position. whether he worked for chip-fil-a or another company is irrelevant. My question to all of you is how exactly did that little act of arrogant ignorance further the fight for equality? Did he change anyones mind in that store? no. he scared a girl who had some admirable composure. He made her feel uncomfortable as she stated and then continued to feel uncomfortable…and on top of that he felt the need to announce that he wasnt gay. all of this tells me he didn’t do it for the cause. he did it to feel good about himself so that he could go home and pretend that he did his altruistic deed for the day. when in reality…he accomplished NOTHING! On top of that what right did he have to throw his beliefs in that girls face in such a manner? None. He is no better than any other bigot and in fact he’s WORSE because he tried to publicize it. He lost his job and rightly so. maybe next time he will think before he behaves in such an asinine manner.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:56pm
  51. *chick-fil-a

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:57pm
  52. Freedom of speech only applies to how much the government can control you, not private companies. Many people don’t seem to realize this. Anyway, I appreciate that this guy is on our side, but that is just not how you go about things. At any rate, what I want to know is why the hell are FOOD companies like Chick-fil-a and many others getting involved with politics that have NOTHING to do with their product? They are selling FOOD. And ONLY food. What really kills me is, why is the head of this chain restaurant deciding what side of the homosexuality issue the whole company is on? That in and of itself is silencing many employees’ voices, whether they are for or against it. And both sides do this.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:09pm
  53. What happened to the freedom of speech they harped about? He used his and got fired. Corruption is a b*tch and its biting the wrong people

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:23pm
  54. Now THIS is a free speech issue.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:44pm
  55. I don’t know if he should have been fired, but I watched the video, and I was DISGUSTED. He treated an innocent girl awfully. She treated him with nothing but respect. Her views have nothing to do with Dan Cathy’s. We better stop bullying people, or support for our causes is going to drop quickly. We can’t fight fire with fire.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:52pm
  56. He was out of line- that poor minimum wage girl did not deserve his tirade. I am gay and I am getting married in Sept in Boston. But…enough people…put the blame on the people that run the place not some poor teenage girl that is making minimum wage. Sorry he lost his job, but I am sure there were better ways to handle the situation and for him to make his statement.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 5:59pm
  57. This was mean and pointless. Protest, picket or cast your consumer vote elsewhere. The child in the drive thru did not deserve this and the people that do deserve your condemnation are laughing all the way to the bank at your free publicity. Whose side are you on?

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 6:22pm
  58. Got fired for his own freedom of speech, that sucks

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 6:42pm
  59. sorry but I LOVE IT! To go after that poor girl in the window was horrible. Man up, get out of your car and speak to management!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:12pm
  60. I did not read all the posts here but SERIOULSY!!! Get ur water from a water fountain! “we” do NOT agree with you bullying someone who is working and trying to earn a living! This is the type of stupidity that gives us a bad name. My 12 year relationship with the woman I love will not change because you felt justified in your actions by bullying this young woman.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:25pm
  61. this guy is an absolute dick. You are harassing a minimum wage earner because the company she works for is exercising their right to free speech? I’m gay. I don’t like where Chick0fil-A stands … on anything. But this has to stop. He is angry becuase of hate? What was he spreading? It certainly wasn’t love.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:27pm
  62. He deservedly got fired. For attacking that girl.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:28pm
  63. He didn’t get fired for being gay!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:30pm
  64. She was visibly upset but maintained her composure. I dont’t care what her views are. She is someone’s daughter and possibly someone’s mother. She has my respect. People who know me would not have been surprised to see me strangling this guy thru the window! And I am gay!!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:32pm
  65. This guy is out of line. Firing may be harsh but I do not agree with what he did. I don’t think those restaurant employees deserved that. A simple, polite, one-line statement about his opinion of the company’s decision would have been enough.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:53pm
  66. Most likely, the company had every right to fire him. Many companies, especially large corporations, have codes of conduct which include social networking and things like this video. If he submitted paperwork to work there, it likely included consent to have the code of conduct enforces, because he is a representative of the company image. It has nothing to do with free speech.

    As for the video itself, he did nothing to help the cause and berated an employee who has nothing to do with the company’s stance on gay marriage. I have to applaud her composure and professionalism, though.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 9:48pm
  67. http://tinychat.com/GayTeensUnite NEW PLZ COME JOIN THE FUN :D EVERYONE IS WELCOME

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 9:59pm
  68. Unfortunately, a jackass with a noble cause is still a jackass.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 10:01pm
  69. Freedom of speech is a right, but with rights come responsibilities. If he was arrested for this, THEN it would be a freedom of speech issue. But this isn’t about the government, it’s about his employer, and depending on the company and whether or not the guy was under a contract, he can be fired for any reason his boss wants.

    Posted on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 10:45pm
  70. He was out of line and didn’t exercise very good judgment in harassing that girl or in posting the video. Some things are just common sense, and it is reasonable to expect that an employee at an executive level should know not to post such a video. I don’t think his rights of free speech or anything else were violated. I’m sure it was a horrible reality check for him. And, by the way, this whole issue is not about Chick-fil-A’s freedom of speech, either. It’s about the fact that CORPORATE (not personal) funds are being spent on anti-gay causes, such as supporting the “kill the gays” initiative in Uganda.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:09am
  71. now or his stupidity he can face foreclosure haha

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:10am
  72. This is not something i do very often it is imperative that i find out any information about Brian Perez-Martinez while not only being a friend of mine, he also is missed by his boyfriend who has tried to contact him since he has become missing . Brian’s last known to have been at class at career quest please contact Robert Lee Lewis with any details thank you for your help everyone and God bless

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 7:42am
  73. Always ask yourself before acting: how will it serve me and what might it cost me? With that in mind, how did it serve him to belittle the woman behind the counter? I can see what it cost him. And what was gained for anyone? Absolutely nothin’.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 8:36am
  74. Is this legal. I would sue for violation fo my rights.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:31am
  75. Odd so a huge chain can say what they want and when someone else doesn’t like it they get fired? All I have to say is fuck chick-fil-a

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:53am
  76. I didn’t watch the video tho

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:55am
  77. I just feel he’s an idiot and handled his feelings on the subject very inappropriately. It’s completely senseless to take this to the individual working the window and kudos to her for being so respectful. And he’s a CFO…more props, duh?, for the “brains” working in the corporate world.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 10:16am
  78. TO ALL LGBT MEMEBER AN SYMPATIZERS!!!!
    HERE IS AN IDEA FROM A WISE LATINO’
    All gay people near by one of their establishments
    -FIRST: Go to a BANK and ask to have 10 (TEN) dollars converted en PENNIES, -SECOND: then holding hands go to the near CHICKEN FILET-A-.
    -THIRD: ORDER AND PAY the tab with the PENNIES,

    -FOURTH then proceed lovingly to SHARE one FILET SANDWISH may be a drink, Make sure that the tab comes closer to 10 bucks or whatever the EXACT AMOUNT OF PENNIES,
    THIS IS AMERICA!!!
    YOU can hold hands in a public place (don’t overdue!! be the smart winer)
    YOU can share a meal thas enough of a message!!!
    YOU can pay the whole amount in pennies it’s perfectly legal circulating money…
    IF refused that form of payment, as an extra bonus you might have a Law Suit against them….
    YOU will have fun seen the CLOGGED LINES WITH CASHIERS counting thousands and thousand of pennies…
    YOU can seat and laugh at them!!!
    YOU might want to have an LBGT Lawyer near by…just in case!!!
    PASS IT AROUND IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET BACK A THEM

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 12:23pm
  79. WHAAAT???

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 12:34pm
  80. Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 1:52pm
  81. im not suprised in the least about it but he put the truth out there and in my opnion the truth shall set you free from everything if people would stay out of others buisaness we would not have this problem ya digg ‘

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:08pm