If you're even remotely aware of current events, then you've heard of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. And, if you've turned on a television, listened to the radio or read a newspaper or blog in the last 48 hours, you've heard of the public relations nightmare in which Komen has become entrenched.
The "Twitterverse" blew up Tuesday after the Associated Press reported Komen was ending grants to Planned Parenthood. The article indicated Komen was pulling the hundreds of thousands in grants to Planned Parenthood, which currently are used for breast screening for underserved populations.
Indications today are that the majority of the news and comments about Komen's move was negative. Komen even released a video late yesterday from the organization's founder and CEO saying everyone got it wrong. The video says Komen isn't pulling grant money due to anti-abortion pressures, as the NPR story indicates. CEO Nancy Brinker (Susan Komen's sister) said she was attempting to clear the air and stated that Komen was changing its funding policy based on a regular review of their granting policies. She says the goal is to eliminate duplicative grants, award funding directly to the service provider (and not a third party, like Planned Parenthood), and that through this process they established stricter criteria and standards, thereby impacting a number of their long-standing partners. Brinker goes on to say that existing grants are not in danger...only future grants.
More on this blooming story is that Planned Parenthood was put under investigation last year by Congress for their spending practices (whether public dollars were being spent on abortions). Planned Parenthood claims this investigation was launched by a conservative congressman who was "...bowing to anti-abortion pressures," and that Komen is, in essence, doing the same thing. Komen denies it.
Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are experiencing a flood of comments, posts and memes about Komen's move. And, tomorrow, Pink Ribbons, Inc., a film about the commercialization of breast cancer, will be released in Canada.
Only time will tell whether Komen (and its immense fundraising machine) will be able to weather this storm, but this is definitely the largest public relations battle the organization has ever faced. Stay tuned!