Dan and Dena Simpson
November 11, 2003
Andrew F. Puzder
CKE Restaurants, Inc.
6307 Carpinteria Avenue, Suite A
Carpinteria, CA 93013
Dear Mr. Puzder,
I am deeply bothered by your new Carls Jr. advertising campaign featuring Hugh Hefner. This blatant message glorifying sexual promiscuity attacks wholesome family values and degrades women as mere sex objects. I have been troubled to see your commercials get increasingly more grungy over the past several years, but this new campaign crosses the line.
Why in the world would a company with a wholesome, family-friendly image stoop to glorify the Playboy lifestyle?
What the ad implies is that its okay for guys to sleep with a different woman every night. You may argue that Mr. Hefner is talking about a variety of hamburgers, not sex partners. But you know as well I that its a double message with unmistakably clear sexual meaning.
My wife and I are parents of two teen-aged daughters and a 20-year son. We have worked hard to instill in our children high moral standards. There are millions of us who still believe that sex is a very special act and should be reserved for that one special person with whom you plan to spend the rest of your life.
But judging from the current offerings on TV and Movies, the overriding value of the entertainment industry is that sexual promiscuity is the acceptable and indeed the normative way of life for red-blooded Americans. And your Playboy Ads contribute to that degradation of morality.
My family has been long-time, regular customers of Carls Jr. Unless you immediately drop this Playboy ad campaign and reverse your trend toward grungy, raunchy, sleazy messages, my family and I will not return to eat at Carls Jr.
Hugh Hefner and Playboy stands as a national icon of pornography and sexual promiscuity. Do you have any idea of how destructive pornography is on our American society? How many marriages have been destroyed because of infidelity?
Pornography can be terribly addicting and fuels marital infidelity, sexual abuse, rape, and pedophilia. To deny the harmful effects of pornography on our society is as mindless as the tobacco industry claiming that theres no real evidence that cigarettes cause any kind of health risk! And to deny that promoting Mr. Playboy in hamburger ads doesnt indeed have a harmful effect on our society and families is simply idiotic.
How many teen-aged boys have got hooked on pornography as a result of discovering their dads Playboys tucked away in a bottom drawer? How many wives hearts have been broken because of an unfaithful husband? How many teen-aged pregnancies resulted from the effects of the message of sexual promiscuity in our culture?
How many mothers who bring their children to dine at your restaurants approve of their husbands and sons looking at Playboy Magazine? Is Hugh Hefner and his sleeping with a different playmate every night really the image you want associated with your restaurants?
It would be a great sign of institutional and personal integrity for you to step in front of the cameras in a nationally televised press conference and apologize for the misguided decision to use Hefner and the glorification of sexual promiscuity to sell hamburgers. A public apology and a reversal of your trend toward sleaze will go along way to win back customers and restore some decency in our land.
Theodore Abajian, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Jeffrey P. Chasney, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer
John J. Dunion, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain Management
Richard E. Fortman, Executive Vice President, Carl's Jr. Operations
Renea S. Hutchings, Executive Vice President, Real Estate Development & Franchise Sales
E. Michael Murphy, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Franchising
Victoria Straschil, Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Caroline C. Leakan, Vice President, Investor Relations
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