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June 12, 2013

Issues With Corporate Responsibility? Celebritize!

If the commingling of Hollywood with Washington is a constant staple of visual media, that melding has been less visible on the wires when it comes to corporate events. That’s what makes this Reuters slideshow from last Friday’s Walmart annual shareholders meeting so distinctive. Talk about a disconnect between words and pictures. I thought I was looking at photos from the Academy Awards or the Grammys – not celebrity wallpaper from the otherwise troubled gathering in Fayetteville.

Singer John Legend performs at the annual shareholders meeting for Walmart in Fayetteville, Arkansas June 7, 2013.  REUTERS-Rick Wilking

Singer Jennifer Hudson performs at the annual shareholders meeting for Walmart in Fayetteville, Arkansas June 7, 2013. REUTERS-Rick Wilking

Who knew this is what corporate governance and shareholder gatherings were really designed for! Judging by the stars and the show, does it really matter the board had to beat back an unprecedented challenge driven by that bribery scandal in Mexico plus the company’s resistance to greater accountability for factory safety in Bangladesh.

A general view of the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. U.S. Associates meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2013. REUTERS-Rick Wilking

Employees of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. wait for the start of the U.S. Associates meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2013. REUTERS-Rick Wilking

The hoopla, by the way, was just as thick at the Walmart Associates (i.e.: employees) meeting held in conjunction two days before. From the pictures, the event looks like a cross between an evangelical meeting  and a political rally. What was all that about bread and circuses?

An employee of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. holds up a sign at the U.S. Associates meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2013.  REUTERS-Rick Wilking

I did like this one though, assuming it’s a real question.

(photos: Rick Wilking/Reuters caption 1: Hugh Jackman welcomes Tom Cruise to the stage as he hosts annual shareholders meeting for Walmart in Fayetteville, Arkansas June 7, 2013. caption 2: Singer John Legend performs at the annual shareholders meeting for Walmart in Fayetteville, Arkansas June 7, 2013. caption 3: Singer Jennifer Hudson performs at the annual shareholders meeting for Walmart in Fayetteville, Arkansas June 7, 2013. caption 4: A general view of the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. U.S. Associates meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2013.. caption 5: Employees of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. wait for the start of the U.S. Associates meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2013.  caption 6: An employee of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. holds up a sign at the U.S. Associates meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2013.)

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