The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has hired Porter Novelli to rebuild the state’s reputation following the uproar over the state’s “religious freedom” law, which saw tremendous backlash for opening the door to discrimination against LGBTQ citizens.
“Now more than ever, we want to remind the world that Hoosiers welcome everyone and that Indiana is a great place for individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to reach their full potential,” said Victor Smith, the Indiana Secretary of Commerce. He’s head of the IEDC, which is the group in charge of business relations for the state. Gov. Mike Pence is the chair of the board.
“We are engaging with our partners in state tourism and the internationally-respected firm Porter Novelli to enhance our state’s image and remind the country that Indiana remains a great place to live, work and visit,” the statement continues.
The press release on the selection continues with a statement from Brad MacAfee, president of Porter Novelli’s North America region and a graduate of Indiana University:
We look forward to working with Indiana’s economic development and tourism teams to help communicate the incredible and innovative story that is Indiana today. We are honored to be selected as the agency to support the state in this important assignment.
The law was not only greeted with protests from the public both inside and outside of the state, but was criticized by business leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook (who wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post) and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, along with entertainers and even the White House. So yeah, there’s some damage control to be done.
A revised law has passed making discrimination based on sexual orientation unlawful. We’ll be interested to see what the firm comes up with to shine the state’s tarnished reputation.