Sanofi’s communications team felt “obligated” to respond on Wednesday morning after it saw Roseanne Barr blame a racist tweet on “Ambien tweeting,” according to its North American comms leader.
Angela Bechan, head of communications for North America at Sanofi, said the maker of sleep aid Ambien wanted to emphasize that it doesn’t tolerate hate speech after its communications team saw Barr’s tweet, and quickly drew up a response plan.
“Our view is that using our medicines as a crutch for bad behavior is not appropriate,” said Bechan. “It comes down to our core values at Sanofi: we take diversity and inclusion very seriously. It is part of how we work every day.”
On Wednesday morning, Sanofi tweeted that “racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication” in response to Barr’s claim that “Ambien tweeting” was partially to blame for her mocking of Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Barack Obama. Hours later, ABC cancelled her rebooted sitcom, Roseanne.
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.
— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018
Like any pharmaceutical communication, Sanofi’s response tweet had to pass the company’s approval process. However, it didn’t take long to receive the necessary sign-offs to post the tweet, said Bechan.
“It was not a big leap for anyone to consider that this was the right thing to do because it is consistent with how we work as a company and with the way we feel here,” she said.
Asked who wrote the tweet, Bechan said it was a “Sanofi team effort.”
The drugmaker has no plans to comment on the matter further. “[Following our tweet], we are getting contacted by various media outlets, so we are responding to those inquiries with a consistent message,” Bechan said.
This story first appeared on prweek.com