Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for January and February 2023

  • Bimbo
  • January 31, 2023
  • by Spaeth Communications

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A historic first! Could anyone other than Rep. George Santos be the winner and occupy both runner-up slots? Other BIMBO comments from the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, while Elon Musk gets the “why take a risk?” award (big surprise). There is a great one liner from a WSJ book review that made us envious. More good examples from the CEO of Disney (reader submitted!) and the CEO of a small olive oil company. However, Spotify’s CEO shows what not to do or how to do it.


“The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or ‘performed’ as a drag Queen is categorically false,” tweeted recently elected Rep. George Santos in response to an image posted on social media by a Brazilian drag queen identifying Santos in drag. After being questioned by the media, Santos replied, “No, I was not a drag queen in Brazil, guys. I was young and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.” Shall we just go ahead and give the annual BIMBO of the Year to Santos? But even we were surprised by the drag queen comment!

NBC News, “Rep. George Santos implies he dressed in drag but denies ever being a 'drag queen,’” Jan, 19, 2023


Rep. George Santos may set the record for number of appearances in a single memo. Apart from his drag queen comments, Santos gifted us with a tsunami of denials this month; it took an investigation from The New York Times to reveal the depth of his fake claims. He received a slew of publicity due to the ridiculous nature of this language, “I never claimed to be Jewish. I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.” Could you hear the hyphen? Closed captioning couldn’t. 

The New York Times, “George Santos Admits to Lying About College and Work History,” Dec. 26, 2022

Next, Santos claimed he worked for Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup. The story continued to spiral with Santos struggling to explain, saying “…but a lot of people overstate in their résumés, or twist a little bit…I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that.” Santos also shared, “I’m not a criminal who defrauded the entire country and made up this fictional character and ran for Congress.” After many more denials and interviews, he added “I am not a fraud. I’m not a cartoon character. I’m not some mythical creature that was invented.” There are many more BIMBO comments and denials from Santos if you read through the linked articles. As we say in the South, bless his heart. 

CNN Politics, “Rep.-elect George Santos admits to lying about bio, but says he still intends to serve in Congress,” Dec. 27, 2022 

We predicted this next entry would make another appearance after initial comments in the December Memo. “Neither I, nor to my knowledge Alameda, ever intended to manipulate markets,” wrote FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried in text messages responding to other firms’ contentions that he was introducing new crypto tokens, selling them to boost their value and price and then using the proceeds to shore up Alameda or for personal purposes. Notice the weasel words, “to my knowledge”

The New York Times, “FTX Founder Gamed Markets, Crypto Rivals Say,” Jan. 18, 2023

“I’ve never been hiding,” said Hershel Walker, Republican candidate for US Senate in Georgia. Walker was a deeply flawed candidate. Being a Georgia football icon wasn’t enough to overcome allegations of domestic abuse, a lack of ability to articulate a positive agenda, and decades of living in Texas, not Georgia. “We’re in this runoff here and we’re going to win this thing,” Walker said. He lost.

Politico, “'I've never been hiding': Walker defends campaign ahead of Tuesday's runoff,” Dec. 3, 2022

"This is not being punitive. This is not about being malicious," said Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, about a vote by the House Ways and Means Committee to release former President Trump’s tax returns. The material generated sensational headlines that Trump paid no income taxes over many years. A few thoughtful publications analyzing the complex material pointed out that Trump and many large real estate developers were taking advantage of the tax rules Congress created but the damage was done, and of course it was "malicious"

ABC News, “IRS failed to complete mandatory audit of Trump during his presidency, committee says,” Dec. 21, 2022


Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, new Twitter CEO, and one of the world’s richest men, waded through waves of criticism as he took over the social media platform. Was he in a snit when he asked people – not just shareholders – to vote on whether he should leave as CEO? They voted. He lost. 58 percent of 17 million voters said, “leave.” As it unfolded, Musk tweeted“Be careful what you wish.” He then wondered whether the vote had been “rigged” by engaging with those on Twitter who suggested it. (Is former President Trump advising him?) He then said, yes, he would give up the job, “as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job.” Meanwhile, rumors circulated that he had been looking for a new executive all fall.

The Wall Street Journal, “Elon Musk Says He Plans to Step Down as Twitter Head After Casting Doubt on Poll,” Dec. 20, 2022


What shouldn’t you do when you lay off 600 people? Make it all about you. Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek wrote an email to his employees announcing the layoffs and said, “Personally these changes will allow me to get back to the part where I do my best work – spending more time working on the future of Spotify – and I can’t wait to share more about all the things we have coming.” Ugh! Executive Coach Brooks Scott calls this “toxic positivity,” a term we wish we had thought of. If he’s going to look to the future, it should be about all of them working together. This will have a long life as a textbook example of what leadership shouldn’t say under these circumstances.

Inc., “Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's Memo to Laid-Off Workers Is a Textbook Example of Why Toxic Positivity Is So Harmful,” Jan. 27, 2023


We love and admire good one-liners. One of the best this month comes from The Wall Street Journal book review of Robert Kaplan’s new book, “The Tragic Mind,” which delves into many knotty leadership challenges including when a leader must make a choice between one awful outcome, like leaving Saddam Hussein in power and torturing his opponents because the alternative is sending the country into civil war and anarchy. To describe the leader’s discomfort wrestling with such a dilemma, reviewer Tunku Varadarajan came up with “Uneasy lies the head that wears the frown.” 

The Wall Street Journal, “‘The Tragic Mind’ Review: Reckoning the Danger of Anarchy,” Jan. 13, 2023                         

Disney’s returning CEO sent an email to the company’s employees which is worth a look for two reasons. It’s gotten praise for being a good example, and we agree – with a caveat. People don’t read, and even a well written internal email is likely to get only a skim. We’re advising our clients to strategically incorporate frequent, short, direct to camera (including a cell phone camera) components.

Inc., “Disney's CEO Sent a Controversial Email to Employees. It's a Master Class in Communicating Your Values,” Jan. 10, 2023

Graza, a boutique olive oil company which got very popular very quickly became overwhelmed by a flood of Christmas orders. Orders were mismanaged and had a host of issues such as peeling labels and late packages. CEO Andrew Benin tapped out a heart felt email to his 35,000 customers in a missive replete with misspellings and incorrect punctuation. He asked for a second chance – and his customers seem willing to go along. See the full report in The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal, “What Happened When the Olive-Oil Startup Apologized,” Jan. 12, 2023


The BIMBO Memo is a reminder not to repeat and deny a negative word because of how the listener hears words. When you repeat and deny a negative word, the listener is likely to overlook the denial and hear the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. It’s named for the young woman who was caught with a high profile, but alas married man. She held a press conference and announced, “I am not a BIMBO,” thus causing everyone to think she was

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