I wrote last Thursday that the worst result of the underhanded intrigues at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation was the harm that occured to the Komen Brand. Once one of the most respected and popular nonprofits in the nation, the powers that be at Komen decided through intrigue and deception to defund their partnership with Planned Parenthood, a partnership that provided tens of thousands of poor women the screenings and breast exams necessary for the saving of countless lives. That’s the crux of the issue, that donors can no longer trust Komen to either race for a cure or to race for prevention without the ugly politics of abortion getting in the way.
The story really hasn’t changed much over the last five days. Sure, Komen has given over a nonapology apology, failing to admit to their underhanded political manueverings. And they say that Planned Parenthood will still be eligible for grants in the future, though I’m interested to see if they follow through on that pledge. They have squandered their trust, after all. As I noted on Thursday, Elizabeth Thompson, and perhaps especially Vice President Karen Handel, were responsible for an unprecedented destruction of the Komen brand. Today’s news? It appears that Karen Handel has decided she has not done enough as yet to destroy the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Karen Handel is resigning. That is necessary for Komen to cure itself, and surely Komen must also come clean about its deceptions in order to regain the trust of donors. Handel’s resignation letter, available from several sources online, such as at The New Civil Rights Movement, gives much insight into the backroom manueverings at Komen, but clearly with her own PR spin. All that’s going to do is further alienate those already offended by Komen’s actions. Handel’s press conference later today will only exacerbate the matter. And Komen sits on its hands all the while.
What’s the real takeaway here? Karen Handel will further damage the Komen brand, and seemingly willfully. As indicated at this column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and in Handel’s resignation letter, Karen Handel has refused severance pay from Komen, which almost certainly would have required that she not spill her guts in public.
The self-congratulatory spin Karen Handel gives in her resignation letter throws both Komen President Elizabeth Thompson and Komen CEO Nancy Brinker under the bus, showing that the excuses they have given for the Susan G, Komen for the Cure Foundation’s actions have been all lies and spin. That’s Handel’s first action in further damaging the Komen brand. Today Handel will hold a press conference where she will surely show more clearly how all the PR spin laid out by Komen over the last week has been a tapestry of lies. More damage to the Komen brand and to the organization to which Handel claims reverence. And I GUARANTEE Karen Handel will be appearing on FoxNews, that most political of outlets, tonight, where she will likely claim that none of this was political at all.
Nancy Brinker needs a new strategy here, and that is to own up to everything, and to commit to a program of doubling its outreach to the underserved women served by the Planned Parenthood grant. Brinker claims she is working to learn from mistakes, but she needs to be proactive with more than words on a website. That’s the only way out of this mess. Komen won’t take this route if they continue to rely on Ari Fleischer for advice, that’s for sure.