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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Special Reports - Reputation Challenges: These Are Most Disliked Companies in America, 2023

Special Reports

Reputation Challenges: These Are Most Disliked Companies in America, 2023


Despite their popularity, certain companies in the business world have gained a notorious reputation as some of the most disliked. These corporations have been met with public backlash due to various decisions and regulations that have failed to meet customer and community standards. This article aims to provide an overview of these companies and explain the factors that have caused their unpopularity.

We examined numerous rankings published by respected news sources, giving priority to companies featured on multiple lists, to compile our “Most Disliked Companies in America” ranking. This is to ensure that our list reflects the collective view of business and financial news outlets. Now, let’s take a closer look at the most unpopular companies in the country, who must strive to rebuild public confidence.

  1. Disney
    Disney, headquartered in Burbank, CA, with an annual revenue of $87.80 billion, for the twelve months ending June 30th, 2023, found itself in controversy in the United States. The company faced a public backlash for speaking out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms. This move led to a feud with presidential hopeful Gov. Ron DeSantis, who attempted to revoke Disney’s independence in running its theme parks. As a result, Disney’s value as a brand plummeted by 22% Additionally, Disney+ received low customer satisfaction ratings, and the company’s share price fell by over 56% since March 2021.
  2. Credit Suisse
    Zurich-based bank Credit Suisse, with an annual revenue of $15.2 billion, faced a severe crisis earlier this year. The bank teetered on the verge of collapse due to multiple scandals, including allegations of fraud, money laundering, corporate spying, and substantial losses on loans. To prevent a financial catastrophe, the Swiss government orchestrated the bank’s takeover by investment bank UBS, ending Credit Suisse’s 167 years of independence.
  3. 3M
    3M, a major chemical and manufacturing company headquartered in St. Paul, MN, with an annual revenue of $34.2 billion, faced widespread public backlash in the United States. The company was embroiled in a controversy involving the contamination of public water supplies due to its use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals.” Although 3M agreed to a $10.3 billion settlement, it did not admit liability, further angering the public. High levels of PFAS have been linked to potential carcinogenicity and various health issues. 3M’s use of these chemicals in products like firefighting foam and non-stick coatings could lead to billions more in damages.
  4. Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Leuven-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, with an annual revenue of $57.8 billion, faced a significant setback when Bud Light, its flagship brand, was dethroned as the best-selling brand in the United States. A boycott of the brand resulted in a 10.5% year-over-year revenue decline in the second quarter. The boycott stemmed from the brand’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, sparking backlash from various quarters, including conservative circles. The controversy also drew criticism from the left, accusing the company of leveraging LGBTQ identity for profit.
  5. Ford Motor Company
    Ford Motor Company, headquartered in Dearborn, MI, with an annual revenue of $158.1 billion, faced numerous quality control issues, surpassing other automakers in recalls. The Ford brand reported 67 recalls in 2022 and maintained the top spot in 2023, with 38 recalls to date. These issues posed significant safety hazards, including fractured driveshafts, engine oil leaks, and unintended gear shifts. In 2022, 20 recalled Ford vehicles caught fire, further damaging the company’s reputation. Ford’s sales in the U.S. market have declined every year since 2016.
  6. Frontier Airlines
    Low-cost air travel company Frontier Airlines, headquartered in Denver, CO, with an annual revenue of $3.3 billion, ranked among the lowest in customer satisfaction in the industry. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Frontier received a score of just 67 out of 100, well below the industry benchmark. The U.S. Department of Transportation also reported that only 56.6% of Frontier flights arrived on time in December 2022, an industry low, contributing to the airline’s unfavorable reputation.
  7. FTX
    The cryptocurrency exchange FTX, headquartered in Nassau, The Bahamas, with an annual revenue of $1.0 billion, experienced a dramatic fall from grace in late 2022. Once among the largest companies in the crypto industry, FTX faced a liquidity crisis and embezzlement revelations. The CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, faced charges of defrauding customers and lenders after diverting $2 billion in customer funds to a privately held subsidiary run by a romantic partner. FTX filed for bankruptcy, and Bankman-Fried was arrested, released on a record-high $250 million bond.
  8. Hawaiian Electric Industries
    Hawaiian Electric Industries, headquartered in Honolulu, HI, with an annual revenue of $3.7 billion, faced intense scrutiny following the deadliest wildfire in modern American history on the island of Maui. The wildfire resulted in at least 114 confirmed deaths, with an estimated 1,000 more missing. Lawsuits alleged that the company failed to de-energize power lines despite high wind warnings, potentially contributing to the disaster. Legal troubles loom, and the company may face bankruptcy.
  9. Johnson & Johnson
    Johnson & Johnson, headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ, with an annual revenue of $94.9 billion, found itself entangled in the ongoing opioid epidemic. While known for producing common brands like Band-Aid and Tylenol, the company also profited from generic opioid drugs. J&J agreed to pay $5 billion over nine years as part of a $26 billion settlement due to over 3,000 lawsuits from states, counties, and local governments, contributing to the company’s tarnished reputation.
  10. Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook)
    Meta Platforms, headquartered in Menlo Park, CA, with an annual revenue of $116.6 billion, faced criticism and fines in 2023. The company, responsible for Instagram and Facebook, laid off thousands of employees as part of a cost-cutting plan, leading to a decline in public perception. Additionally, Meta was fined $1.3 billion for violating EU privacy laws and settled a $725 million class-action lawsuit for sharing customer information with Cambridge Analytica. These issues eroded trust in the company and its platforms.
  11. Netflix
    Netflix, the world’s most popular streaming service with over 232 million subscribers, faced backlash after announcing a price hike for its standard plan in the U.S. and Canada. This coincided with a net loss in subscribers for the first time in a decade. Netflix also announced plans to crack down on password sharing, imposing additional fees for sharing passwords outside of households. These decisions led to public dissatisfaction and financial setbacks for the company.
  12. OpenAI
    San Francisco-based OpenAI, with an estimated annual revenue of $200 million, drew criticism for the impact of its AI product, ChatGPT, on the workforce. AI technology has the potential to displace millions of American workers, and OpenAI’s ChatGPT became a symbol of AI’s impact since its late 2022 launch. Concerns about AI’s harmful effects, including spreading false information, privacy issues, and job displacement, fueled public discontent.
  13. Optimum TV (Altice)
    Within the subscription TV service industry, Long Island City-based Optimum TV (Altice), with an annual revenue of $9.6 billion, received the lowest customer satisfaction ratings. The company faced criticism for poor customer service, complicated billing structures, and equipment malfunctions. Customers reported issues with technicians not showing up for scheduled appointments and receiving bills even after discontinuing service, leading to low customer satisfaction scores and an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  14. PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric)
    PG&E, the largest utility company in the United States with an annual revenue of $21.7 billion, faced widespread criticism and legal action due to wildfires caused by its outdated power lines in Northern California. The company agreed to pay over $55 million to avoid criminal prosecution for wildfires in 2019 and 2020. PG&E’s accountability for over 30 wildfires between 2017 and early 2022, resulting in extensive property damage and fatalities, further damaged its reputation. The company also received the lowest customer satisfaction rating among energy and utilities companies.
  15. PGA Tour
    The PGA Tour, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, with an annual revenue of $1.6 billion, drew public ire for merging with Saudi-backed organization LIV Golf. The merger created a new golf entity, sparking outrage over concerns that the PGA Tour prioritized financial gain over human rights. Allegations of Saudi involvement in terror attacks, migrant killings, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi raised ethical concerns. Professional golfers also criticized the lack of transparency in the deal, adding to the controversy.
  16. Silicon Valley Bank
    Silicon Valley Bank, based in Santa Clara, CA, with an annual revenue of $7.4 billion, faced a financial crisis in 2023. The bank’s assets were heavily invested in treasury bonds, which lost value due to Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. This prompted the bank to raise $2.25 billion to improve its balance sheet. The announcement triggered a bank run, with panicked account holders withdrawing $42 billion in just two days. Regulators ultimately seized the bank’s assets, resulting in one of the largest bank collapses in U.S. history. Silicon Valley Bank’s failure had far-reaching consequences, impacting tech startups and global tech corporations.
  17. Snapchat
    Snapchat, headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, with an annual revenue of $4.6 billion, faced legal troubles and criticism in 2022. The company settled a $35 million class-action lawsuit over alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, contributing to negative perceptions. The platform also came under scrutiny for enabling sexual exploitation and drug dealing among its predominantly teen user base, leading to financial setbacks and a plunge in its stock price.
  18. Southwest Airlines
    Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, with an annual revenue of $23.8 billion, encountered significant backlash after canceling over 16,700 flights during the busy holiday travel season. Outdated software systems and unrealistic flight schedules were cited as the primary causes of the disruptions. The U.S. Department of Transportation launched an investigation, suggesting potential unfair and deceptive practices. Southwest reported hundreds of millions of dollars in losses in the aftermath.
  19. Spirit Airlines
    Miramar-based Spirit Airlines, with an annual revenue of $5.1 billion, ranked as the lowest-rated airline in terms of customer satisfaction. The American Customer Satisfaction Index gave Spirit a score of just 64 out of 100, well below the industry average. Customer complaints included uncomfortable seats, poor cabin service, and fees for basic amenities, further damaging the airline’s reputation.
  20. Target
    Minneapolis-based retail giant Target, with an annual revenue of $109.1 billion, faced criticism and backlash for taking a position on social issues. The company’s Pride Month displays and merchandise in June 2023 drew public outrage, particularly from far-right social media accounts and misinformation campaigns. Target removed some items from its shelves to protect workers’ safety amid anti-LGBTQ+ backlash. The controversy led to the company’s first quarterly sales decline in six years.
  21. Trump Organization
    The Trump Organization, led by former President Donald Trump, faced legal troubles and negative public sentiment. In early 2023, two of the company’s entities were found guilty of tax fraud dating back decades, resulting in $1.61 million in fines and penalties. The conviction also led to a five-month jail sentence for the company’s CFO, Allen Weisselberg. These legal issues added to the company’s existing unpopularity, fueled by political divisions.
  22. TikTok
    TikTok, a popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, faced backlash in the United States due to concerns about national security and data privacy. Critics, including U.S. government officials, raised fears that TikTok could be compelled by the Chinese government to share user data or manipulate content. The platform’s congressional hearing highlighted issues related to child safety, addictiveness, and potential mental health effects on users, further fueling public debate.
  23. X (formerly Twitter)
    Social media giant Twitter, now known as X and headquartered in San Francisco, CA, faced a tumultuous period under the ownership of Elon Musk. The company underwent a series of contradictions and policy changes, including removing bans on hate speech accounts while banning other users, leading to confusion and discontent. Musk introduced a controversial system for “blue checks” and appointed a new CEO within a year, adding to the platform’s instability and criticism.

In the landscape of business, these companies stand as examples of the challenges and opportunities inherent in maintaining public trust and goodwill. As consumers increasingly prioritize ethical conduct and responsible business practices, the path to redemption for these companies lies in their commitment to positive change. Their experiences emphasize the importance of corporate responsibility and customer satisfaction in today’s business world.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Special Reports - Reputation Challenges: These Are Most Disliked Companies in America, 2023
Diya Mukherjee
Features & Analysis Editor at the CEOWORLD magazine. Diya has a wide range of interests in literature, culture, media, politics, science and technology, business and economy, and social issues. She holds a B.A. (Hons.) degree in Comparative Literature. She likes to write on diverse topics and explore new perspectives.