A PR firm that works with Starbucks and other major retailers quietly advised clients to 'not take a stance' on abortion rights, a report says

·3 min read
roe v wade sup
Pro-choice signs hang on a police barricade at the Supreme Court Building.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • PR firm Zeno Group advised clients to stay quiet on abortion rights, Popular Information reported.

  • A leaked email shows Zeno told clients the topic was a "textbook 50/50" issue.

  • Zeno told Insider the "50/50" comment was poorly worded and the email didn't accurately reflect its advice.

Public relations firm Zeno Group quietly advised clients to remain quiet on the draft Supreme Court document that seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Popular Information newsletter reported.

Zeno's roster of clients includes Starbucks and Coca-Cola, according to the newsletter. Netflix was also referenced in the newsletter but a Netflix spokesperson told Insider that it was not currently a client of Zeno's and had not been for several years.

Popular Information reported that Zeno circulated a template email internally to share with its clients. The email reportedly told clients to "steer clear" of news outlets, asking them to "not take a stance" and "avoid media fishing."

The email comes after a draft Supreme Court opinion that could seek to overturn Roe v. Wade – a landmark ruling that protects women's right to abortions – was leaked on May 3. If the legislation is overturned it could mean abortion becoming illegal in 23 states.

Zeno Group, which is owned by Daniel J. Edelman Holdings — the same firm that owns PR giant Edelman — seemingly told clients to "not engage" with the media on its company's position on the issue and said the first company to speak out and make their view known "becomes the lead," per Popular Information.

"This topic is a textbook "50/50" issue. Subjects that divide the country can sometimes be no-win situations for companies because regardless of what they do they will alienate at least 15 to 30 percent of their stakeholders," the email sent by a Zeno executive reportedly said.

"Do not assume that all of your employees, customers or investors share your view," the email reportedly added.

Many companies have already been vocal on the issue as a growing list, including Tesla, Amazon, Apple, Yelp, and Citi, said it would reimburse employees for travel costs if they were seeking abortions.

A Zeno spokesperson told Insider: "Albeit a poor choice of words, the company referring to 'a "50/50" case' was a phrase meant to describe the divisiveness and partisanship tied to controversial issues, and not meant to represent an actual percentage of US sentiment on this issue."

The company said the leaked email did not "accurately reflect" the advice it's giving clients and that the company believes it's a "woman's right" to make their own healthcare decisions.

An Insider investigation found that agencies in 13 states that have abortion "trigger" laws are not prepared for how to implement a ban. They are also not planning for what could happen if the ruling is reversed, per the investigation.

Read the original article on Business Insider