Best Buy Asks Employee to Quit Over Videos

Who would have figured that the videos below of the cute little bears vehemently (and profanely) offering opposing views of the iPhone 4 versus the HTC Evo would cost a Best Buy worker his job? Particularly since these videos gave no indication whatsoever of who the animator was, let alone where he worked.

From TechCrunch:

The video in question was made by Brian Maupin, a 25-year-old based in Kansas City, Missouri. For the past three and a half years he’s been working at Best Buy selling mobile phones. He’s probably not going to be doing that anymore as Best Buy has suspended him indefinitely and is currently taking the steps to terminate him, Maupin tells us. The reason? The video…Maupin says he was asked to quit, which he declined to do, and so they suspended him this morning telling him that he would most likely be terminated after they review it with HR.

Best Buy’s response:

Best Buy spokesman Justin Barber said in an e-mail Friday that the company was still deciding how to proceed with Maupin, whom he called an “aspiring filmmaker.”

“This is an important situation for us because it involves balancing our social media guidelines with a commitment to creating a supportive environment for our employees,” Barber said. “That’s why our investigation into this matter will take some time before it’s concluded, and why we look forward to seeing Brian back on the job come Monday.”

I’m not seeing how this can be cause for termination. As stated above, no one really knew who the animator was, that is, until Best Buy made a big deal out of it and associated themselves to the videos.

I’ve always believed that an employee has the right to do anything legal on their own time so long as they are not claiming to represent the company or slander the company in any way. Mr. Maupin did neither. From what I can tell, all he did was create videos that reflect very typical attitudes that a great many people have regarding their phones. I hope Best Buy’s HR Department sees this as well.

Either way, Mr. Maupin is probably going to end up the winner in all of this. And he has a great attitude about the whole thing,

Regardless of whether he keeps his job or not (which he doesn’t expect to), Maupin is optimistic. “I see it all as a blessing in disguise. I’ve wanted to start my career in graphic design/animation for so long, I see this as my kick in the pants to go get it,” he says. (TechCrunch)

Either way, this guy is talented. I’m sure that those job offers are not too long in coming.

See for yourself:
(Warning: May be NSFW for language)

UPDATE: It looks like Best Buy has wisely decided to not fire Mr. Maupin however it seems, Mr. Maupin is not sure that he wants to return.

From Techcrunch:

Below, find Best Buy’s full statement on the matter and then Maupin’s official one…

Best Buy:

We have completed our investigation into the videos created and posted by Brian Maupin, the aspiring film-maker and Best Buy employee. This is an important situation for us because it involved balancing our social media guidelines with a commitment to creating a supportive environment for our employees. It’s important to note that our investigation involved three videos that were posted in late June because they were openly disparaging of our employees, our customers and our vendor partners. Our investigation is over, and these videos are no longer on the web. Contrary to rumors, Brian has not been fired, and is scheduled to return to his job at Best Buy this Friday


Right now I’m planning on taking a leave of absence so I may survey my current career plans and the future. I’m not sure if it would be comfortable returning to Best Buy considering the circumstances, but I will definitely consider all options.

No matter what he decides to do, I’m sure he’ll do whatever he feels is best for himself. I wish him the best of luck.