Doughnut company employee uses 'inappropriate language' at middle school career day

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PORTLAND – A presenter from Voodoo Doughnuts will not be invited back to Career Day at Molalla River Middle School after officials said he used “inappropriate language” to a group of 30 students Thursday.

Voodoo Doughnuts confirmed that one of its employees spoke at Career Day but did so without notifying the company. The employee admits he talked to a number of students and at one point spoke about a well-known Voodoo doughnut in the shape of male genitalia. He said he did not use any other vulgar language.

A grandparent of one of the students, however, has a different version of the story.

"What he said was, 'in order to get an 'effing' job here at Voodoo Donuts, you have to be able to make certain kinds of donuts,' and he was real explicit," Shelley Burtless said. "Well, you wouldn’t talk that way in front of adults if you were going to present your company, or what you do for your company either, so why would you do it in front of kids?"

The school district released a statement to parents Friday that said a supervising teacher immediately stopped the presenter and told him and students that the language was unacceptable.

”The teacher that was supervising that setting was clear and unmistakable that that was unacceptable," said Superintendent Tony Mann. "(It's) safe to say they won’t be invited back for any event or purpose in the district.”

Voodoo said the employee is sorry and upset over what happened, and the company said it does not condone graphic language to middle school students.

"The employee involved was not acting as a representative (for) Voodoo Donuts, but rather as an individual talking about his work for career day,” said Voodoo Doughnut co-owner Kenneth Pogson. “We do have a lot of fun and irreverent names for our doughnuts at Voodoo. This employee was asked a specific question about this particular doughnut and he answered truthfully, but not considering that it may be inappropriate for the audience.”

KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.