A former CFO who once earned $200,000 a year is now on food stamps three years after posting a video on YouTube criticizing Chick-fil-A.
Adam Smith, who was once the CFO of Vante, a medical manufacturer in Tucson, was fired in 2012 after he posted a video protesting the fast food purveyor for its anti-gay stance.
Smith and his wife, who together have four children, are now living on food stamps due to the fact that he still remains unemployable three years after his video went viral.
Smith, 37, went through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru in 2012 to order a free cup of water and then taped himself as he told the drive-thru attendant, Rachel Elizabeth, how much he despised the company. At the time, Chik-fil-A was the focus of controversy following a series of public comments made by CEO Dan T. Cathy opposing same-sex marriage. Smith told Elizabeth in the video:
“Chick-Fil-A is a hateful corporation. I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand it. This is a horrible corporation with horrible values. You deserve better.”
Smith then posted the bullying rant on YouTube, where it quickly went viral. While he thought he was defending a cause, viewers couldn’t get past how abusive and rude he was toward Elizabeth.
When he returned that day to work, the receptionist told him “the voicemail is completely full, and it’s full of bomb threats,” Smith told ABC News’ “20/20,
.” His company fired him the same day.
Smith was earnin $200,000 a year at Vante with over $1 million in stock options before he claims it was all taken away. He then lost his home and had to move his family into an RV, which started his downward spiral. Eventually hired by a company in Portland, Oregon a few months later, he was fired again two weeks into the job when they found out about the Chick-fil-A video.
Smith then decided to be upfront about the video in subsequent job interviews, but “in the end, the companies would rescind the offers saying they didn’t want the distraction,” he told “20/20” in a recent interview. On whether he regrets his actions, Smith said:
“I don’t regret the stand I took, but I regret … the way I talked to [Elizabeth].”
Smith’s interview coincides with the publication of his memoir “A Million Dollar Cup of Water,” which chronicles his professional collapse.