AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has weighed in on the company's Sept. 11 tribute tweet -- which some found offensive -- offering another apology.
In a blog post on Thursday, Stephenson offered a personal apology, acknowledging that the image used in the post "fell woefully short of honoring the lives lost on that tragic day."
AT&T set off a mini-controversy on Wednesdayand the twin beams of light meant to replace the fallen World Trade Center towers. But the center of the image was framed by a smartphone, an insertion that many found to be crass and a blatant attempt to use the tragedy to reinforce AT&T's brand.
AT&T quickly pulled the tweet, which had elicited a number of negative responses, many of which used language unfit for this news outlet. In its stead, the company issued an apology, which itself was dinged as insincere and a half-baked attempt to control the damage.
A similar post on Facebook did garner nearly 5,700 likes, as well as comments defending the image.
Regardless, Stephenson said it is a day "that should never be forgotten and never, ever commercialized."
The full text of the apology follows:
We're big believers that social media is a great way to engage with our customers because the conversation is constant, personal and dynamic.
Yesterday, we did a post on social media intended to honor those impacted by the events of 9/11. Unfortunately, the image used in the post fell woefully short of honoring the lives lost on that tragic day.
I want to personally express to our customers, employees, and all those impacted by the events of 9/11 my heart felt apologies. I consider that date a solemn occasion each year, a time when I reach out to those I was with on that awful day, share a moment of reflection for the lives lost and express my love of country. It is a day that should never be forgotten and never, ever commercialized. I commit AT&T to this standard as we move forward.
--Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO