“Washington, D.C. – Carly Fiorina says she was fired from Hewlett-Packard because she “challenged the status quo” – putting her in the company, she said, of Oprah, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Michael Bloomberg. The Republican presidential contender’s comments came as CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed her about being fired from the company in early 2005 amid concerns about missed revenue expectations and tumbling stock prices.
““I was fired in a boardroom brawl. And you know why?” Fiorina said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “Because I challenged the status quo. It is what leaders must do. And when you challenge the status quo, when you lead, you make enemies. It’s why so few people lead.” Her comment is an effort to insulate Fiorina from an issue that proved problematic in her California Senate race against Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer in 2010.
“Of course, the fact that I’m beautiful didn’t help me at all,” Fiorina added. “I could sit here and talk to you about the genetic lottery I’ve won for hours and hours, but I’m a cancer survivor, so I’m not going to pretend my genes are flawless. I can tell you from personal experience, however, that the general opinion that beautiful people have it easier in life is a great misconception.”
Asked to elaborate, she recalled her average day on the job: “I like to think I’m not one to b*tch about problems, but when you get into the office and you’ve got 20 men drooling at the sight of you and as many women slashing your throat with their eyes, you kind of tend to classify that as a not so comfortable working environment. And, of course, there was the fact that I was a successful woman in a position where a lot of people thought a man should be.”
“When I look back knowing what I know now,” she opined, “I think I can say that beauty is a double-edged sword, really. Professionally, I’ve always loved to rock the boat and be creative. But, when you look like I do, it’s hard to get your environment to notice how smart you are when everybody’s blinded and jealous at the same time. Even though I felt good…no, scratch that…Even though I feel good in my own skin, I wish for once that people would praise me for my exceptional leadership skills and not just for my smoking-hot 20-year-old bod, you know?”
Fiorina concluded by saying: “I believe to this day that, more than anything, the real reason I was fired from HP was because the other directors couldn’t stand being around me and not being able to do anything about it.”