I normally refuse to give publicity to ignorant companies. I am making an
exception, however, for BeautifulPeople.com, a Denmark-based dating site.
BeautifulPeople peddles itself as an “exclusively beautiful community,
founded for the purpose of creating personal and professional
relationships.” However, to become a member, there is a catch─you must be
I learned about Beautiful People from an article by Colin Stewart in the Orange County Register. The Register’s article, “Ugly truth:’
Beautiful’ Web site boots ‘fatties'” caught my eye, probably because I
packed on a few extra pounds over the holidays.
BeautifulPeople recently expelled US-based and other members after thinner
members complained about weight gain in some members’ holiday photos. In a
press release founder Robert Hintze said, “Letting fatties roam the site
is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which
BeautifulPeople.com was founded.”
But that quote isn’t all. Over 5,000 “fatties” were
“culled” according to Hintze, a term normally used in killing puppies
(or cows) that don’t quite fit the mold. The Register picked up a few of his other quotes. Hintze opined the British are about the
world’s ugliest and Russian men are just “extremely
According to the Register, the
site’s ranks are growing because, “Attractive people wants to associate
with each other without having to filter out the ugly people who populate other
dating sites,” according to Hintze. He went on to say (get
this),”Other sites are jungles of hippos and warthogs. BeautifulPeople is
a wonderful game reserve of leopards and gazelles.” Ouch. I can’t make
this stuff up, I swear.
So, where is the risk in all this? Weight is not protected at least in the
so calling people “fatties” and booting them from a dating site may
not be actionable. But what about a little civility?
I recently spent an evening with professors and graduates of the Ken
Blanchard Executive Management Program. They talked about the importance of
servant leadership and its positive impact on the bottom line. Servant
leadership is a business model in direct opposition to Hintze’s. It is a
leadership model driven by a personal need to serve others as the path to
leadership. I left this seminar with a deeper appreciation of just how much
this leadership model, practiced by companies as diverse as lawnmower
manufacturer Toro and Southwest Airlines, can improve a company’s profits.
Other proponents of servant leadership include Steven Covey and M. Scott Peck,
author of The Road Less Traveled. For
more information on servant leadership, visit the
for Servant Leadership at http://www.greenleaf.org.
Incivility in business has a price. Christine Pearson’s and Christine
Porath’s recent book The Cost of Bad
Behavior: How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It
has an estimated cost of incivility. They estimate incivility costs American
companies up to $300 billion per year.
Is your company’s incivility
alienating customers? Are you losing valuable employees to other companies or
to presenteeism—which translates to “I’m here but I’m not working”—or are your
employees actively sabotaging your company? If so, The Cost of Bad Behavior outlines proactive steps your company can
take to prevent incivility in your organization. I have covered the cost of
jerks previously because I feel strongly that jerks, no matter how much they
appear to produce in sales revenue, ultimately cost companies money.
I know many people, including me, who are not aesthetically beautiful, but
we have moments of stunning beauty. When we behave civilly despite
“business models” or an insane search for profits over kindness, we
If behavior and civility hold any basis for beauty, then BeautifulPeople is
ugly to the bone.