If you just look at the top of the message, the reply email Google’s PR team sent Mission Local reporter Courtney Quirin when she asked a question about a controversy seems pretty normal:
“Hi, Courtney. I’ll give you a call Monday morning. Have a great weekend!”
But look below that response to a quoted reply in the email chain, and you’ll see what the PR team really thought of her request. The relaying email, which was apparently from the person who initially fields media inquiries, simply says, “ugh…”
Quirin’s request was about protests against buses that shuttle the company’s employees between the campus in Mountain View, Calif., and San Francisco proper.
Some San Francisco residents have contended that employees from Google and other tech companies, such as Apple and Facebook, are responsible for inflated rents that have resulted in evictions. They say the companies themselves are exacerbating the problem with shuttle services.
In an article on Mission Local
, Quirin gives other examples of how Bay Area tech giants have been tight-lipped about the issue. Google issued this statement during December protests: “We certainly don’t want to cause any inconvenience to Bay Area residents.”
Apple didn’t reply at all to a New York Times
request for comment. Facebook has similarly ignored emails.
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Carla Boragno, a spokeswoman for Genentech, told The Wall Street Journal
she finds the protests “curious.”
“The tech companies don’t want to get further embroiled in this issue,” area PR expert Sam Singer told Quirin. “Therefore they are laying low from a communications standpoint. I’m not sure that’s the right strategy.”
Certainly, sending a reporter an email with a visible “ugh” in the chain doesn’t seem to send a great message.