Sprint Corp. is doing damage control after pulling an online video clip in which CEO Marcelo Claure asks a consumer to describe rival T-Mobile and she replies “ghetto.”

The comment came during a “listening tour” session Claure has held with wireless consumers around the country. Sprint decided to highlight the segment and Claure posted it Twitter.

His message was that sometimes the truth hurts. Claure has written about other listening tour comments, including negative ones about Sprint. These have not had the impact of the ghetto comment.

“The reaction we got was quite negative, and we reacted immediately … and we took it down.” Sprint spokesman Dave Tovar said.

Tovar declined to say why this comment among many the consumers made was chosen for the Twitter post or who made the choice.

“It was a Sprint decision,” Tovar said of posting the woman’s comment.

In the clip, Claure sits at a large table with several consumers. The skating rink visible behind them is in Bryant Park in New York. Claure turns to his right and asks the customer what she thinks.

“When I say T-Mobile to you, just a couple of words,” Claure said.

“Oh, my god. The first word that came to my head was ghetto. That sounds, like, terrible,” she said.

In the clip, the woman covers her face partly as if she thought better of her remark. In an online report about the clip, the website BGR.com said this:

“As soon as she says it, the room full of white people erupts into laughter. And as a nice added touch, you’ll notice that the woman coyly bites her lip, shrugs, and appears to quickly glance over at the only black man sitting at the table just before she says ‘ghetto.'”

Sprint quickly pulled the ad and removed the video clip from Youtube though others have posted it online.

Claure, in a tweet, acknowledged the poor choice by the customer without commenting on Sprint’s decision to turn it into a social media message. He did write that the the intent was not to offend anyone.

We’re sharing real comments from real customers. Maybe not the best choice of words by the customer. Not meant to offend anyone.

— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) April 13, 2016

Claure then tweeted again, this time to say the ad was taken down and to apologize for the “bad judgment on our part” to post it.

My job is to listen to consumers. Our point was to share customer views. Bad judgment on our part. Apologies. Taking the video down.

— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) April 13, 2016

Meanwhile, others reached out to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who has been willing to take shots at Sprint in social media. This time he declined.


(c)2016 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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