Dave Ramsey is a household name in evangelical circles. He is the go-to for financial advice for churches and has amassed an estimated net worth of $55 million and built an organization with 900 employees by providing his advice, largely to Christians at evangelical churches. However, in recent years, and especially in recent months, Dave Ramsey and his organization have come under fire for what some see as authoritarian tactics of leadership. The latest round of bad PR has surprisingly come from Ramsey’s PR response to a recent report on the organization.
Julia Dunin writes for Get Religion that reporter Bob Smietana was doxxed at the hands of Ramsey’s PR apparatus for writing a story that the organization apparently thought was unfair.
The reporting on Ramsey’s leadership included the following:
Ramsey’s intolerance for dissent has created what former employees call a cult-like environment, where leaders proclaim their love for staff and then fire people at a moment’s notice.
Ramsey Solutions, former employees and their spouses say, is run more like a church than a business. A review of court documents, company emails and recordings of staff meetings backs up these sources’ claims that company leaders attempt to exert control over employees’ personal lives.
At a staff meeting in July, Ramsey railed at his staff after an employee sued Ramsey Solutions for firing her for having premarital sex, which is against company policy, and said he would pay the price to protect what he had built out of love for his employees.
“I am sick of dealing with all this stuff,” Ramsey bellowed, according to a recording obtained by Religion News Service. “I’m so tired of being falsely accused of being a jerk when all I’m doing is trying to help people stay in line.”
The surprising passive-aggressive PR response to reporter Bob Smietana began:
Thanks for reaching out. We want to confirm for you that you are right, we are horrible evil people. We exist to simply bring harm to our team, take advantage of our customers, and spread COVID. And YOU figured it all out, wow. Who would have guessed that an unemployed guy, oh I am sorry, a “freelance reporter” would be the one to show us how horrible we are so we can change and to let the world know of our evil intent, secrets, and complete disregard for decency…..but YOU did it, you with all your top notch investigative skills have been able to weave together a series of half-truths to expose our evil ways. You are truly amazing.
Because your personal virtue is so incredible, we want to help you with your hit piece and confirmation bias. We actually have audio of the time Chris Hogan farted in church and you should have a listen, it is truly horrendous.
Bob Smietana is on staff with the Religion News Service, not a freelance reporter. Get Religion continues that as part of the company’s response to the reporting it found objectionable:
[T]he company reacted by blasting out Smietana’s name and email and asking staff to contact him with their protests. About 100 did, including two pastors, “one of whom was pleasant,” Smietana said. “The other wasn’t.”
[Additionally], Smietana got pranked by his opponents. His name was referred to realtors in Florida (in the hopes that he’d move there); someone signed him up for a Mormon dating service, a drug addiction ministry and a Scientology mailing list.
Read the full article here.