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    Navigating the Cancel Culture

    [The following appears as a commentary by Edward Segal in his weekly “Crisis Ahead” podcast. Watch previous episodes and subscribe to his podcast at this link:]

    As I wrote in a recent article published by, small businesses must often confront and deal with controversial issues that can threaten their image, reputation, profits, and relations with customers and the public. These issues have recently included the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, racial inequality, social injustice, and the impact of COVID-19.

    There can be consequences for being on the wrong side of an issue. Consider what happened to the owners of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in Annapolis, Maryland. As reported by the Capital Gazette newspaper, the owners had to apologize for comments that were perceived as a racist attack on Black Lives Matter protesters.

    Dodging political and cultural land mines can be especially challenging and vexing.

    Who or what is in or out today?

    Whose side are your customers on?

    What should you say or do about it, and what impact will that have on your business?

    Fortunately, there are several strategies and tactics you can follows to help navigate the shifting winds of public opinion and the battles in the culture wars that are being fought every day.

    This includes being sensitive to the concerns, needs, and priorities of others, staying current with the events, trends and developments in your industry and the world, practicing Practicing restraint in all that you do and say, and following my three rules of holes as they apply to crisis management.

    The first law is that if you find yourself in a cancel culture crisis, stop digging and get out of the hole.

    The second rule: after you climb out of the first hole, don’t fall back in or dig yourself into another hole.

    The third rule is that if you fall back into a cancel culture crisis hole, go back and follow rule #1 — get out of the hole, and stay out.

    You can read my entire article for here.