- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2011

Corporate America should be wary of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, one top lobbyist says.

“One of the things that the business world is not taking seriously today, in my view, is this whole Wall Street protest,” Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro told The Washington Times. “It could accelerate and generate a very strong feeling, which could hurt the business community.”

Occupy Wall Street, which has been going on for a month, is a series of demonstrations that target what they call “corporate greed” that started in New York City.

It has quickly spread around the country and the world. So far, protests have taken place in Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle, as well as overseas in London, Rome and elsewhere.

“I think they have to take serious the fact that there’s a perception by the American public that corporations are unethical,” Mr. Shapiro said.

Public sentiment and congressional opinions about big businesses have soured since the collapse of Wall Street in recent years.

Mr. Shapiro said corporate America cannot afford to ignore the damage the protests are doing to the business image. They should also be talking about the good things they do in the community, such as providing jobs and helping support schools.

“If you are an American company, if you have any future here, you have to believe in the future of your own country,” he said. “They’re not doing that.”