A Florida postcard company is at the center of a maelstrom of controversy for asking employees to work through a hurricane. It inspired internet sleuths to dig up the founder’s history of donating to Republicans and praise of Scientology.
The company, PostcardMania, is on Florida’s west coast, which is currently being impacted by Hurricane Ian. Experts are calling the storm “catastrophic,” with wind gusts just below that of a Category 5. Residents are bracing for what may be the worst storm surge on record in some areas, potentially up to nine feet in some areas. Mandatory evacuations and shelter-in-place orders have been implemented across the state.
But at PostcardMania, it’s all just hype and they should really focus on what’s most important: making quarterly goals.
Jonah Furman of Labor Notes, a media and organizing project for union activists, first reported on PostcardMania asking people to work through the hurricane.
During a staff meeting on Monday, Chief Executive Officer Joy Gendusa told employees that they should come to work as usual. She reportedly said, “It’s not going to be that bad, I promise,” and suggested that people bring their kids and pets to the office to ride out the storm and sleep on air mattresses they have on hand.
“Obviously you feeling safe and comfortable is of the utmost importance,” Gendusa qualified before saying, “but I honestly want to continue to deliver and I want to have a good end of quarter.”
After Gendusa’s remarks went viral, PostcardMania denied asking staff to work through the hurricane, insisting that it merely offered the office as a shelter. It wrote on Instagram that its office would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
Vice News obtained an email that cast doubt on that claim.
On Monday, PostcardMania’s vice president of human resources reportedly sent an email to staff that said, “As most of you know, PCM was built to withstand a Category 5 Hurricane. And since we are a national company we would like to continue servicing our clients if we can.”
“You will be allowed to bring your children to work those two days. We will have movies and other fun stuff in the common area to keep them entertained.”
Outrage and indignation flowed across the internet.
“Sure, there’s a chance you could ‘die’ or whatever, but let’s stay focused on that end of quarter goal, folks!! Come on now, everyone be a team player with a hustle mindset!” one wrote sarcastically.
Some online sleuths were inspired to dig into Gendusa and her company.
“I am SHOCKED that a Trump donor like Postcard Mania CEO Joy Gendusa would value profits over people! Shocked!” one sarcastically tweeted.
State and federal election records show that she donated to both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former President Donald Trump in recent years.
Others noted that Gendusa belongs to the controversial Scientology religion. Scientology is headquartered in Clearwater. In 2014 she told a publication affiliated with Scientology that she credits much of her business acumen to a series of books on management techniques written by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the religion.
Intrepid social media users also hunted down PostcardMania’s profiles on other platforms. The company currently has comments restricted on Instagram and Facebook, which appears to be a recent development.
Memes and criticisms piled up in the comments on its Twitter and YouTube accounts.
A YouTube user commented on PostcardMania’s most recent video, “Why do you think it’s appropriate to risk your employees’ lives for your own personal gain, Joy? These people should have had the option to evacuate. You held them hostage. You don’t own them. These people are not slaves!”
“The first rule of Twitter is don’t become the main character,” tweeted @czesco. “I guess you learned that today.”