In a shocking display of misogyny, Robert A. Gordon, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Safeway Inc. easily earned this week’s BWA. At the shareholders meeting on May 15, Gordon opened his remarks with a “joke” in which President Obama lugs pigs to the White House to give to Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. The hypothetical punch line has a Secret Service agent indicating that the pigs are more valuable than the women. Ha ha ha.
Setting aside the not-so-subtle racism inherent in the setup, the culmination of this story and the expectation that it would make his audience laugh, says volumes about Gordon. That he felt comfortable sharing this tale in front of a corporate audience demonstrates how undervalued women are in that environment. Comparing two of the most powerful women in America to farm animals is nothing short of loathsome.
But of course he felt safe. Only 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women, who make less than 70% of what their male counterparts do. Ten percent of these companies still have all-male boards of directors (Safeway has an amazing one woman on their board.)
I wonder how the (few) women in the audience felt. Certainly none have come forward to complain, even though Safeway has a code of ethics which Gordon’s hateful speech violated. No comment yet from the company, either. Please let Safeway know how you feel about this kind of behavior.