business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times this morning reports that celebrity chef and restaurateur Mario Batali put his foot in his mouth ... and it may cost him some of his best customers.

Batali owns and runs a number of New York City restaurants - with expensive menus and hard-to-get reservations - that cater to high level banking and Wall Street executives.

On Tuesday, Batali appeared at a Time event promoting its Person of the Year issue, and in an off-handed remark, he mentioned US bank executives and both Stalin and Hitler in the same breath. He wasn’t exactly equating them, but he was drawing a kind of equivalency ... and almost as soon as he said it, the comments went viral, as people used Twitter and the Bloomberg terminal system to spread them.

Just as fast, executives started saying that they would now boycott any and all of Batali’s restaurants.

“The irony is that he has made millions of dollars building a restaurant empire off the backs of Wall Street wealth,” one senior executive told the Times.

Two Eye-Opening lessons here.

One. We live in a world of instant communications. You say it, and technology will ensure that almost everybody can hear it.

Two. It is a good life rule to never compare anybody to Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin.
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