Best Buy employee Brian Maupin's videos that mock consumers' blind allegiance to smart phones landed him in the boo-boo room last week, but the Richfield-based company says it won't kick him to the curb.
In a statement, Best Buy Co. Inc. said it completed its investigation of Maupin, 25, who has worked at a store in Independence, Mo., since 2007.
"Contrary to rumors, Brian has not been fired and is scheduled to return to his job at Best Buy this Friday," Best Buy said.
But Maupin said he doesn't know whether he'll head back to the sales floor.
"I plan on taking a leave of absence and use the next few days to determine my career plans for now and the future," Maupin wrote on his Twitter page.
Best Buy's inquiry didn't involve Maupin's latest animated videos, which initially drew his employers' ire and have since gotten more than 3.3 million views since going up last week on YouTube. The profanity-laced videos feature cartoon characters that lampoon iPhone 4 and Evo 4G devotees as mindless trend followers, but don't specifically mention the retailer.
Best Buy was more concerned with three videos Maupin posted in late June in which the company was mentioned. Those have been removed from Maupin's website.
Best Buy said the videos "were openly disparaging of our employees, our customers and our vendor partners."
In his blog, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn wrote that the "diverse experiences, opinions, passions and beliefs" of its workers are "vital to our future growth." He congratulated Maupin for "pursuing his passions beyond Best Buy."
But Dunn continued: "At the same time, we need to let our company's values guide us in matters that directly involve Best Buy, our employees, customers and shareholders. The videos in question did not illustrate 'humility, respect and integrity,' and that's unacceptable to me, our customers and our employees. We are a values-based organization and I'm relentless on issues or situations that contradict our values."
Best Buy described Maupin as an "aspiring filmmaker" and said the situation was "important for us because it involved balancing our social media guidelines with a commitment to creating a supportive environment for our employees."
As to whether the company will take a fresh look at its policies, a company spokesman said, "We're always looking at how our social media can evolve as technology and channels evolve."
Maupin told the Star Tribune in an e-mail that he doesn't get paid vacation days and hasn't worked since last Thursday, when he was suspended.
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335