Centerplate CEO Desmond Hague was captured on video abusing a dog in an elevator. The video is pretty disturbing, so I don’t blame anyone who’d rather not watch this guy kick a puppy and yank it around by its leash. I wish I would’ve just read about the story and not pressed play, personally.
In the aftermath of the incident, fans have called for teams that use Centerplate to cater their events — a long list of teams that includes the Giants and the 49ers — to dump the Connecticut-based catering company.
Fair or not, with the opening of Levi’s Stadium and the extra attention garnered by the food (and delivery) options, the 49ers seem to be getting the lion’s share of the local backlash — anecdotally speaking, anyway. Fortune wrote a long story about how Hague’s actions could jeopardize the company he’s been running since 2009, which included a response from the 49ers.
For now, Hague remains CEO of Centerplate, and no clients have yet ended their contracts. The 49ers, in a statement sent to Fortune, said that the organization, “condemns the abuse of animals and was disturbed to learn of the recent news regarding Des Hague. We believe his actions are not reflective of the efforts and service provided by the hundreds of Centerplate employees working to present our fans with a tremendous experience at Levi’s Stadium.” (Levi Strauss deferred comment to the 49ers.)
In other words, the 49ers aren’t going to break their contract with Centerplate because of this. They might hold out hope that the company will remove Hague from his post, or that he’ll step down. But unless this becomes a financial disaster due to a large number of fans keeping their wallets in their pockets after entering the stadium, nothing is going to change.
It’ll be interesting to see if a boycott movement takes hold at either venue. Nothing of the sort happened last year at AT&T Park, when UNITE HERE Local 2 workers went on strike after several years without a raise. The union and Centerplate recently agreed to a new contract through 2019 that provided raises and back pay.
Hague also released a statement: “I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed… a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response… I would like to extend my apology to my family, company and clients, as I understand that this has also reflected negatively on them.”
Update (6:50 pm): Centerplate’s PR firm, Kwittken, emailed me the following statement from Centerplate that was released Tuesday evening:
We are aware of the incident involving Centerplate CEO Des Hague and the attention surrounding it. The company has now gathered all of the current facts from local authorities and is in the process of conducting an internal review. Centerplate does not condone the mistreatment of animals by any of its employees. Mr. Hague has agreed to attend counseling to address his anger management issues and has publicly expressed he is deeply ashamed and remorseful for his behavior. He has apologized to everyone directly involved as well as to the company’s clients and employees, and has pledged a significant, personal, multi-year financial commitment to help support the protection and safety of animals. There will be a public statement as soon as Centerplate completes its review.
Just heard Dez Hague has been let go from his position...a weird way to put it but it sounds like he was fired. Love how all this played out because he was a money man...centerplate went in to damage control and decided to take the law in their hands to placate the public-so they thought. They made it sound like he had already gone to trial and was on probation doing hours of public services and paying fines. The spca waited to see how it would all play out too..the newspapers said "spca is recommending charges lol aren't they supposed to press charges. Oh and just a little icing on the cake- an op-ed reporter writing that this is overkill and no one is rallying around 2 girls who were assaulted in Vancouver. Glad you are gone Dez and the dog is out of harms way but I don't feel justice was served in this case at all- it was just political maneuvering by all parties involved. Why can't we all just do the right thing? Society would be much better for it. Big Business and SPCA's should do the right thing without public pressure whenever animal abuse is involved. All of the recent studies regarding animal abuse show a direct correlation between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Miami/Dade in a pilot study cracked down on animal abuse and reported a significant drop in all crimes thus saving taxpayers money. Sorry Centerplate -too little-too late. As for the SPCA didn't they learn their lesson over the sled-dog slaughter case. I have lost respect for both institutions over their handling of this circus.
The petition to have him removed can be signed online. Over 160,000 people from around the world have electronically signed and left their comments. Please visit:
FIRE DES HAGUE - CENTERPLATE's CHIEF EXECUTIVE ANIMAL ABUSER
please remove the trash to the sidewalk. this is outrageous. hague is a serial killer in the making if not already- I and many others will boycott anything associated with centerplate till this maniac is GONE BABY GONE!!!
At this point, I don't think I could enjoy eating any concession bought from Centerplate. It would literally leave a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not joking.
That puppy wasn't even his! The pup was scared and laying in the corner!! I hope this asshole looses everything! I hope someone kicks him in the nuts!
Stock "gay" attire at his BC condo's elevator, but married with a family in CT. Guess he's kicking a dog because he's got "issues."
Whilst Des Hagues may have agreed to make a large charitable contribution to a dog charity, take anger management classes, the overwhelming thought that will be going on in client's minds as well as customers is how does the CEO actually treat fellow employers, vendors and clients behind closed doors and what exactly is he capable of and how much can he really be trusted as a petition to oust Hauges gains strength….
What else don't we know about this mans abuse on defenseless animals or
People - first video to expose him???
If he continues in his position he represents the company's acceptance of his despicable behavior.
Boycott till removed from employment
Word just coming in from ESPN sports is that Aldon Smith will be suspended for the entire 2014 season.
Thing is ... I am from Vancouver area and they had to put out a video clip to find this guy ... so for him to say he complied with authorities and is sorry is to put it bluntly BS. He didn't turn himself in, he was pointed out from the video that was released a month ago (July 27th) and if Centerplate had any sense they would let this guy go right now. Fans in BC Place were protesting and boycotting purchasing any confectionery due to his actions ... hence he is a liability and should be cut loose. it will only get worse for him and for Centerplate. Why they are standing by this guy is a PR freaking nightmare and only screws over themselves. His contract must be freaking stellar for him to be kept on like this.
It wasn't even HIS dog? Geeze....I bet he's not "friends" with that person much longer. As it should be.
He's only sorry he got caught & says a minor frustration caused him to lose control of his emotional response. Seriously, his statement is total bs! How would he react to a major frustration!! This is the norm for him.
Got the exact same comment from the Giants PR team as the one released by 49ers (word for word).. It's simple- I'm not buying food from either AT&T Park, or Levi's Stadium till either Centerplate or Des Hague goes. As for the concern about he employees at the venues- if Centerplate, the teams, or even Des Hague really cares about the employees- they will do the right thing.
He should get the Michael Vick treatment. Every company review site better business bureau should get floods of complaints so this company goes in the crapper quickly. I feel sorry for the employees but they don't need to be working for a coward like him anyway
Looks like every major news outlet picked up the story. This guy is gone before the end of the month. Come on PETA, bring the rain!
This is an outrage. The catering company needs to fire him immediately or the 49ers need to drop him. The people will not stand for this if action is not taken. What people do when no one is watching tells everything. I for one will not spend a dime of my money on games or concessions until action is taken. And I will spread the word to everyone listening. Let's get as many people involved in this so this sack of you know what gets his.
I go to every game and typically spend money on concessions. I will not buy a single thing until this abuser is gone. I'm but one fan, but I hope there are more like me.
Well, at least this explains why Centerplate eliminated the term "Hot Dog" from the Levi's Stadium menu. Centerplate CEO abuses a Frankfurter?
I will boycott with my wallet and encourage other seat license holders to do the same. However, since the food is pretty crappy anyway, I hope the Forty Niners organization takes this opportunity to break it's contract and find a source of food that is as exciting to the palate as the new stadium is to the eye and hopefully as exciting as the team will be for its fans.
@LividAnimalLover good work
Her name is Sade. She is a one year old Doberman Pinscher puppy. According to the BC SPCA expert, her fearful behavior shows she has suffered this type of treatment before. She was found in her crate in her own urine and excrement with no access to her food or water dishes when the BC SPCA showed up at the luxurious condo suite of Des Hague with their search warrant. Sade is currently in the care of the BC SPCA at an undisclosed location. The BC SPCA have recommended criminal charges be brought against Hague. The Crown Prosecutor is reviewing the case. BC has a very poor track record for dealing with animal abusers. So it's up to all of us to make him pay for the mental anguish he has caused Sade. I can just imagine the lengthy work of getting her to trust again. The attack lasted 52 seconds, but he has scarred her for life.
Really?? Rush to judgement?? Watch the videohttp://m.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/25/centerplate-ceo-dog-kicking-san-diego-contracts/
If you still feel the same way I guess we will all have to rush to judgement that you are almost as big of an asshole douchebag as Des Hague is!!
Rush to judgment? Have you watched the video? What additional information do you possibly believe could be discovered that could justify what he did?
Do you let a dog hang from his leash at the neck? Do you kick dogs, even if they are misbehaving?
These are not actions that kind and rational humans take. All are clearly proven by the video. If anything, judgement hasn't been swift enough.
@GilaSilver You're absolutely right. IMHO, the chances that this is the first time this creature has abused an animal are virtually nil. Just a guess, but I'd lay money on it.
@Joerp1 who is their source?
@LoisCGreene I don't think the 49ers can break the contract prior to the season even starting. Wait till the contract is over and then finding another company. Besides, from a big picture, the 49ers can get a better deal when working with companies that are non-union. Unions can be a hassle.
@MilpitasNinerGuy I'm pretty sure Beaver was joking. Not a really funny joke, but I highly doubt he was seriously questioning the puppy's character.
T -- I'm not a lawyer, but I would think that creating unnecessary negative attention to the team by the actions of the CEO of a subcontractor would be construed as a breach of their contract. The treat of a food boycott would also imperil the team's profits as well.
Leave it to me to miss the sarcasm. I'm just so jacked.up about this whole incident that in my context there's no humor in the situation.
@MilpitasNinerGuy maybe that's because there is NOTHING FUNNY in this situation....ffs