Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is personally leading an internal investigation after learning of a man who wore “company gear” as he participated in last weekend’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
HuffPost, which is owned by Verizon via the telecom’s Oath business, reported this week that the investigation was launched Thursday after the carrier learned of the matter. McAdam alerted employees of the probe in a companywide email; Verizon had not previously addressed the issue publicly.
“Over the weekend, like many of you, I was shaken by the murderous violence and hate-filled rhetoric spewing from white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia,” McAdam wrote in the memo, which was published by HuffPost. “That’s why it’s distressing to learn that a man who marched with members of neo-Nazi groups and the KKK was wearing Verizon gear. We are actively investigating this situation and I am personally involved in getting to the bottom of this.”
The carrier declined to say how it became aware of the marcher, or to share photos or video showing him. Verizon also didn’t say what kind of “company gear” the marcher was wearing.
Verizon representatives confirmed the legitimacy of McAdam's memo to FierceWireless Friday afternoon.
The rally gained national attention last week after another participant was accused of killing counterprotester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others when he drove his car into a crowd. President Donald Trump was accused of fanning the flames after he blamed the violence on groups on “both sides” of the white supremacist movement.
Verizon is hardly the first company to investigate a personnel matter in the wake of last week’s violence, although it may be the biggest. Workers who have lost their jobs in the last week for allegedly participating in the rally include a cook at a Vermont pizzeria; a welder and mechanic in South Carolina; and an employee of a hot dog restaurant in Berkeley, California.