Amid unrest, CEOs and brands denounce racism in Floyd killing

Organizations offer anguished responses to the killing of a black man in Minneapolis while remaining silent on the vandalism and looting of their stores.

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How should an organization respond when a civil rights outrage—the death of an African American in police custody—is followed by nationwide looting and arson?

The question is especially fraught when many companies’ stores are victims of a backlash that included looting and arson.

The nation erupted in fury over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in handcuffs as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. For their parts, businesses took a calibrated approach in their messaging.

The now-fired officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder. As many called the charges insufficient, peaceful protests nationwide spiraled into outbursts of looting and burning that didn’t spare major brands.

Blogs, internal statements and Twitter accounts tended to keep the focus on condemning racism and police brutality, with fewer publicly addressing the violence—even when it destroyed their stores. With details murky about so many instances of violence, executives might be opting to stick to what’s known until further information becomes available.

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