With the San Francisco 49ers prepared to host their first regular season game at Levi’s Stadium against the Chicago Bears, there seems to be bad news brewing around their food vendor Centerplate. A Connecticut-based caterer for sports/entertainment venues, it was the CEO who now is in hot water as Des Hague was reportedly caught on video surveillance abusing a puppy. See video below.
The footage which was taken from a Vancouver Apartment building shows the food executive kicking a Dobberman puppy and strangling it upwards by the leash. The video which surfaced last week, had many people upset and were reluctant to buy/eat the food catered by centerplate at the CFL game.
Hague did release a statement as he said, “completely and utterly out of character. I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed… a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response… I would like to extend my apology to my family, company and clients, as I understand that this has also reflected negatively on them.”
So what should centerplate do to resolve the issue and save face? According to crisis management expert Steve Paskoff, CEO of ELI, which does corporate sensitivity training, he believes something drastic needs to be done. “My immediate reaction to this news was, this is a guy who will kick and drag a friend’s dog—what else is there to say about him? And if he treats defenseless dogs this way, how is he treating people?” said Paskoff. “Is Centerplate going to be comfortable saying he represents our values, which state [on its website] that the company is ‘a positive force in our communities?‘”
The 49ers who are aware of the situation, released a statement to ESPN saying: “The San Francisco 49ers organization condemns the abuse of animals and was disturbed to learn of the recent news regarding Des Hague. We believe his actions are not reflective of the efforts and service provided by the hundreds of Centerplate employees working to present our fans with a tremendous experience at Levi’s Stadium.”