Detox or Die Critical Incident

Detox or Die: Controversial Social Media Post Plagues Vermont Restaurant Owner

Paul E. Olsen, Saint Michael's College Karen Popovich, Saint Michael's College Patrick J. Doherty, Saint Michael's College
January 8, 2020
North America
Marketing & Sales
3 pages
social media, reputation, crisis management
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.78)
Average rating: 

This critical incident is about self-imposed reputational crisis because of a controversial Facebook post by Shannon Reilly, who owned and operated Magnolia Bistro. Reilly was in the middle of the public relations kerfuffle as a result of his controversial Facebook post saying that opioid addicts should “detox or die.” Reilly’s post was in response to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger’s plan to address opioid addiction in Vermont’s largest county. While some critics labeled Reilly’s post insensitive, others called for a boycott of Magnolia Bistro. Reilly wondered how to respond to the controversy that could hurt his reputation and business.

Learning Outcomes: 

In completing this assignment, students should be able to:
1. Analyze the role of social media in managing a small business
2. Evaluate a reputational crisis
3. Develop an appropriate strategy to respond to a reputational crisis

This decision-based critical incident is designed for use in undergraduate marketing, public relations, or introduction to business courses as an introductory example of the use of social media, public relations, and reputation and crisis management.