Edelman's Zeno Group advises corporate clients not to weigh in on Roe v. Wade, abortion rights: report

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Public relations firm Zeno Group has reportedly advised a number of high-profile clients to avoid commenting on the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark legal ruling that protects women's rights to an abortion. 

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According to an internal communication cited by Popular Information, the Edelman subsidiary created a template email to share with clients, which tells them that "the media" and others "will look for corporations to take a stand and make their views known" on the document. 

"Do not take a stance you cannot reverse, especially when the decision is not final. This topic is a textbook ‘50/50’ issue," the internal communication reportedly states. "Subjects that divide the country can sometimes be no-win situations for companies because regardless of what they do they will alienate at least 15 to 30 percent of their stakeholders… Do not assume that all of your employees, customers or investors share your view."

It also reportedly advises its clients to ignore direct media inquiries about Roe v. Wade and abortion rights and to avoid pitching "breaking news networks/outlets" on any topic, noting it could be used as an opportunity to ask about Roe v. Wade and abortion rights.  

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Zeno Group CEO Barby Siegel told Popular Information that the internal communication "does not accurately reflect Zeno's position or the range of counsel that we are providing to clients," adding that it was "meant to advise clients within the first 24 hours of breaking news, and its intent was to counsel clients to be measured in their immediate response to a complex developing story." 

"We take seriously our responsibility to help clients proactively navigate complex societal issues, consider the actions they may take and the accompanying communications, internally and externally," a Zeno Group spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. "We know and understand that companies are increasingly expected to take a stand on major issues, and we believe it’s right to do so when it is authentic to the organization, and consistent with their values and actions."

Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, May 5, 2022 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ((AP Photo/Alex Brandon) / AP Newsroom)

The firm emphasizes that it believes in "equal access to healthcare for all, and a woman’s right to make decisions about her healthcare."

"At the same time, we live in a world with different opinions and different views, and we respect those differences," the company adds.

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According to its website, Zeno Group has worked with clients including Coca-Cola, Netflix, Salesforce, Hershey's, Starbucks, Lenovo, Expedia, Yum Brands-owned Pizza Hut, Kia Motors, Astra-Zeneca, AT&T, ASICS, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Phillips Health. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
KO THE COCA-COLA CO. 64.74 +0.23 +0.36%
NFLX NETFLIX INC. 180.97 -7.35 -3.90%
CRM SALESFORCE INC. 169.78 -2.93 -1.70%
HSY THE HERSHEY CO. 226.02 +2.23 +1.00%
SBUX STARBUCKS CORP. 76.52 -0.96 -1.24%
LNVGY LENOVO GROUP LTD. 19.93 +0.77 +4.02%
EXPE EXPEDIA GROUP INC. 132.33 -7.17 -5.14%
YUM YUM! BRANDS INC. 115.39 -0.23 -0.20%
AZN ASTRAZENECA PLC 64.36 -0.59 -0.91%
T AT&T INC. 20.05 +0.07 +0.38%
ASCCY ASICS 15.58 +0.04 +0.26%
SMG SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO CO. 104.59 -4.96 -4.53%

Representatives for the companies did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment. 

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