Short of actually causing a loss of human life, a major oil spill or the bulldozing of an orphanage, companies don’t often have a worse stretch of PR than Telus has weathered over the past few weeks.

Just as the dust was settling from the site-blocking fiasco, a video has surfaced from a company “team-building” event called Telus Idol.

After company employees take turns singing pop songs with Telus-friendly lyrics, Telus managers loudly and lewdly rate their performances.

A Shania Twain look-alike sings a song to the tune of Up!, with lyrics about increasing shareholder value. A member of the judging panel tells her:

“I’m up. I’m up big time. You know that thing called the CN Tower? It’s right here in my pants.

“If I buy stock, would that be insider trading? Speaking of inside, do those pants come off?”

(It’s appalling, but perhaps not surprising. The culture that Telus CEO Darren Entwhistle has imposed — in his words, FIFO: “Fit In or Fuck Off” — is the kind of fear-driven environment where problems like sexual harrassment can fester.)

How big a a story is this on the Net? Well, I’m getting slammed by traffic today, just about all of it accounted for by people searching on “telus” and “idol”.

Telus’ line is that this was an isolated incident by rogue managers, and that Appropriate Action Has Been Taken. “Those actions were addressed. The managers were dealt with,” a corporate VP told The Tyee. (Not to mention “evasions were uttered.” What is it about the passive voice? It’s like a big glowing dirigible labeled “COME SEE THE P.R. DISASTER!”)

I’m not sympathetic to management here, but come on, people: PR this bad causes some vast karmic imbalance in the universe. It distorts ley lines, screws up the chi of entire cities and swaps people’s astrological signs at random.

Someone at Telus needs to break out of this, if only for the sake of our collective metaphysical well-being.