It seems like a lesson from Leadership 101: Don’t make comments that can be construed as felonious, even if you allege that it was a poorly made joke.
That’s the lesson that now-former PacketSled CEO Matt Harrigan is learning, after the company announced his sudden resignation on the heels of his Facebook threats to kill President-elect Donald Trump.
Reported CEO’s threats
PacketSled officials predictably began distancing themselves from their former leader, saying that, “We want to be very clear, PacketSled does not condone the comments made by Mr. Harrigan.” During the transition, chief technology officer Fred Wilmot will take the helm as an interim CEO, while the Board of Directors launches their search for a more even-tempered, permanent replacement.
The company’s response extended beyond just a lack of approval, as they responsibly followed up with law enforcement to ensure that the threats were reported. “Once we were made aware of these comments, we immediately reported this information to the Secret Service and will cooperate fully with any inquiries,” PacketSled officials stated. “These comments do not reflect the views or opinions of PacketSled, its employees, investors or partners.”
Careful what you Reddit
Redditors helped preserve and posted Harrington’s now-deleted Facebook posts, which provided such gems of leadership as: “I’m going to kill the president elect”, “Bring it Secret Service,” along with other, more detailed posts in which Mr. Harrigan identified how he would launch the assault, using a sniper rifle to assassinate the President-elect.
Harrigan took to Twitter over the weekend to proclaim his lapse in judgment, writing that “My humble apologies that a flawed joke has become public/out of context.”
“My poor judgment does not represent the views of PacketSled, customers, investors or the officers of PacketSled,” Harrigan continued, “I have no malicious intention towards POTUS and apologize to all for my lack of judgment and offensive commentary.”
Despite the attempt to tweet his way clear of the event, Harrigan may face consequences beyond just his accepted resignation as CEO. Under federal law, threats against presidents and presidents-elect are a considered felonies, with penalties ranging from five years in prison, a fine, or both.