This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the second "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: some embarrassing videos of Wal-Mart corporate retreats are making the rounds — videos that Wal-Mart would rather you not see.
About 15,000 tapes spanning about 30 years show Wal-Mart big shots at work and at play, including this video featuring male employees dressed in women's lingerie and singing.
The videos were shot by a production company hired by Wal-Mart on a handshake deal. Big mistake. But recently, Wal-Mart ended the relationship. So the production company put the tapes up for sale to anyone and everyone, including the attorneys for women who were suing the retailer in a multi billion-dollar sex discrimination suit.
Joining us now from Atlanta with a look at how Wal-Mart should be dealing with all of this is Laura Ries. Laura, good to see you.
LAURA RIES, CO-AUTHOR, "THE ORIGIN OF BRANDS": Great to be here.
INGRAHAM: First of all, how could a company as smart as Wal-Mart be so stupid as to not have a confidentiality agreement with this video company? It's insane.
RIES: It is absolutely insane. This is the world's largest retailer, over 300 billion in business. Don't they have a whole building of lawyers that should have seen this thing coming?
I mean, sure in the '70s Sam Walton could do a handshake deal on the golf course. But this isn't the 70's. We don't have Sam Walton. And you have to be a lot smarter. This is a really, really sloppy mistake by management.
INGRAHAM: Back in 1987, Laura, there was one particular event where the male employees were wearing women's lingerie. They were singing, which I find even more disturbing. They were singing "Walking Around in Women's Underwear" to the tune of "Walking in the Winter Wonderland."
OK, no one messes with "Walking in the Winter Wonderland," OK? And to do it and bastardize that song and those lyrics, that's it. OK, that's where I draw the line.
I mean, does it really matter though in the long term? I mean, does this have real legal implications for Wal-Mart, given this billion-dollar suit? Or is this just kind of for our amusement?
RIES: Well, this is entirely embarrassing, of course. I mean, look, we're coming off of three years where Lee Scott has done a really great job of improving Wal-Mart's image. And this could be damaging in the litigation case. I think that's the one where they can dig out these little bits and nuggets of who said what at the meetings could be very damaging. For shoppers, I don't think shoppers care at all.
But it really brings to the point: Why are they taping these meetings anyway? Why do they have a library of 30 years of things that people said at Christmas parties? This is not a good idea. So many companies do it, and I just don't know why they do it. Taping things like this can only lead to trouble. In this case it certainly did.
INGRAHAM: Laura, shouldn't companies at this point, given the YouTube age and the MySpace and Facebook and all this stuff that's happening and all these videos being posted online, isn't it smart at meetings like this to absolutely frisk people for cell phones...
INGRAHAM: ...so you don't have the possibility of grainy cell phone videos?
INGRAHAM: And obviously, larger cameras not allowed in these things. I mean, you should behave, too, obviously. But I mean, anything can also be taken out of context.
RIES: And that's a great point, because these things, in fact, are being taken out of context. Hey, a lot of shenanigans go on at these corporate meetings. They're there to have fun. And, you know, men dressing up, hey, if that's what you want to do. But take it out of context, they look like fools.
And sure, these companies should really crack down, because we do live in the Internet age where these things do get out. And listen, video is a lot more damaging than documents. A leaked memo, yes, that can hurt. That can help in litigation. But a leaked video, that really leaves egg on your face and trouble in the courtroom.
INGRAHAM: Yes. I mean, I'm still trying to get over those Reverend Wright videos from his sermons in Chicago.
INGRAHAM: So those didn't help him at all. And I don't think these videos necessarily — they don't help the men who are trying to look really sexy in that lingerie. I think it's going to be hard to get dates after that, but that's just my view.
Hey, Laura, thanks so much for your perspective.
RIES: Great to be here.
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