We often joke about how CEOs are such dark, evil people that they would kick a puppy for no reason. Unfortunately, it’s not a joke anymore. The CEO of a major concessions company was caught on surveillance camera kicking a puppy and roughly yanking its leash on an elevator.
The video, recorded at a Vancouver apartment building, shows Des Hague, CEO of Connecticut-based concessions company Centerplate, kicking a Doberman pinscher puppy in the stomach as it did nothing more than lie on the ground. He began with a couple light kicks, increasing the intensity with the several that followed.
Hague, who was previously an executive at IHOP, Safeway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and 7-Eleven, yanked roughly on the puppy’s leash, at one point lifting it slightly off the elevator floor with the force of the pull. After one more swift kick, the elevator door opened and Hague pulled the dog out of the elevator.
Centerplate acts as a food service provider at venues all across North America, but sports fans aren’t willing to put up with the abuse. Many are refusing to buy food provided by Centerplate and are calling for Hague’s firing.
The CEO apologized in a statement released Tuesday:
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said. “This incident is completely and utterly out of character and I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed. Under the circumstances of the evening in question, a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response. Unfortunately, I acted inappropriately, and I am deeply sorry for that and am very grateful that no harm was caused to the animal.”
Centerplate, in a press release, absolved itself of any responsibility for Hague’s actions. “This is a personal matter involving Des Hague. Centerplate does not condone the mistreatment of animals, and since learning about the situation late Friday night, have reached out to local authorities to better understand the facts and circumstances related to the incident. As this is an ongoing review, we cannot comment further at this time.”
As of yet, no clients have ended their contracts with the company. The San Fransisco 49ers said in a statement that the organization does not intend to do so. The team “condemns the abuse of animals and was disturbed to learn of the recent news regarding Des Hague. We believe his actions are not reflective of the efforts and service provided by the hundreds of Centerplate employees working to present our fans with a tremendous experience at Levi’s Stadium,” according to the release.
hague has agreed to attend anger management and has pledged a “significant, personal, multi-year financial commitment to help support the protection and safety of animals.”
In other words, we can expect a sizeable donation to an animal rights group soon.
Unfortunately, Hague’s typical embarrassed reaction to getting caught will not be enough. Crisis management expert Steve Paskoff said, “My immediate reaction to this news was, this is a guy who will kick and drag a friend’s dog — what else is there to say about him?” He added, “And if he treats defenseless dogs this way, how is he treating people?”
Hague says that Centerplate needs to do much more than issue a press release.
No charges have yet been filed.
Watch the video below, if you can stomach it: