Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) share price falls as the retailer deletes Twitter

The Harvey Norman Twitter account went rogue over the weekend, blocking and replying to users criticising the company.

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Falling ASX share price represented by woman looking shocked at mobile phone

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This article discusses mental health issues and suicide. If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

The Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) share price is falling today. This comes after the company deleted its Twitter account following outcry over its response to worker protests. At the time of writing, shares in Harvey Norman are trading for $5.26 – 1.13% lower than yesterday’s closing price.

The homewares retailer was met with protests outside many of its Australian stores on Friday. However, the worst backlash the company faced happened online.

Following the protests, the Harvey Norman Twitter account seemingly went rogue. It posted an insensitive reply to a former worker. Additionally, the account blocked hundreds of users who criticised the company.

As a result, Harvey Norman removed its Twitter account from the platform roughly 4 hours ago.

Let’s take a closer look at the drama surrounding Harvey Norman today.

Twitter storm

The protests that spurred the Twitter controversy were run by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and called for the minimum wage paid to Harvey Norman workers to be increased.

The protests followed Harvey Norman founder Gerry Harvey’s refusal to pay back $22 million in JobKeeper payments the company received during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harvey Norman’s revenue increased by 25% over the 6 months ending 31 December 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019.

In a quickly deleted tweet published over the weekend, the Harvey Norman Twitter account replied to a former employee. The former employee claimed that working at Harvey Norman had been detrimental to their mental health.

The former worker’s tweet stated: “working for [the] god forsaken company drove me to suicide in 6 months”.

Harvey Norman’s Twitter account responded to the former worker with a face-palm emoji and also a waving hand emoji. The combination of emojis is often used to show second-hand embarrassment and disinterest.

The reply was met with intense backlash from Twitter users. Though, many who criticised the reply were quickly blocked by Harvey Norman Australia.

Harvey Norman share price snapshot

Despite the recent bad press, the Harvey Norman share price has been performing well on the ASX lately.

The Harvey Norman share price has gained 10% year to date. It’s also 56% higher than it was this time last year.

The retailer has a market capitalisation of around $6.6 billion, with approximately 1.2 billion shares outstanding.

This article discusses mental health issues and suicide. If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

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Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Twitter. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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