Telstra is in hot water over its reported decision to abandon the marriage equality debate, after the Catholic church threatened the telco with removing all of its accounts if it persisted with the controversial issue.
The company is now facing major backlash and risks its reputation after deciding to remove itself from the gay marriage debate due to alleged pressure from one of the issues biggest opponents – the Catholic church. Considering that over 80 per cent of Australians are in favour of marriage equality, the fallout from a decision such as this could outweigh the benefits of backing down.
As Dan Ilic argues in an opinion piece published on Mumbrella’s website, Telstra could be at risk of losing a share of that 80 per cent market.
Telstra has denied that the Catholic church had anything to do with the company’s decision, although a spokesperson declined to say whether pressure from the church forced the telco to back down from the debate.
It is alleged that Sydney’s Catholic archdiocese issued a written warning to the telco, followed by a meeting between former Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone and Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher to discuss the issue.
Last year, Telstra signed on to support marriage equality with dozens of other organisations in a full-page advertisement published in various newspapers, but now Telstra Chief Executive Andrew Penn is saying: “It is important we allow them to voice their own views” and that it would no longer participate in the public debate.
Do you think Telstra is making a wise business decision to back out of the marriage equality debate? What does this backflip do for its brand? Do you believe it made this decision off its own back, or could the church have had some influence?