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Posts Tagged ‘racists’

GAP Nips Racist Graffiti Problem in the Bud

Here’s a good example of a brand that’s on point on social.

A couple of straight-up racists tagged this GAP ad featuring a Sikh Indian actor in a New York subway station, changing the line “Make Love” to “Make Bombs” and adding “Stop driving cabs” just to be extra dickish.

Lawyer and writer Arsalan Ifthikar saw it, photographed it and encouraged his 36,000 followers to share it; the image quickly went viral.

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Less than 24 hours later, the GAP responded on Twitter:

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Barney’s Can’t Wait to Discuss Racial Profiling with Al Sharpton

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Barney’s New York has a big problem on its hands.

Earlier this month, 19-year-old Trayon Christian was arrested after he purchased a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt from the high-end retailer before being released without charge. Then 21-year-old Kayla Phillips came forward to say that plainclothes cops “pushed [her] up against a wall” and questioned her at a subway station near the store after she purchased a $2,100 Celine handbag in February.

Both have hit Barney’s and the NYPD with lawsuits, but this isn’t necessarily a new development for the store. A recent Huffington Post story recalls a similar incident reported by a black Newsweek columnist way back in 1996: after being falsely accused of shoplifting, he went all the way up the store’s executive chain seeking an apology only to have members of the founder’s family tell him that it was his fault the clerk had made a mistake.

Barney’s culture may be a bit backward, but the store’s executives aren’t too disconnected to realize that it’s damage control time. Whether their efforts have been successful so far is up for debate—and a forthcoming holiday campaign starring Jay-Z and his new clothing line complicates the matter.

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Media Relations 101: Don’t Call Anyone ‘Racist’

Tomorrow marks the party primaries in New York City’s mayoral race. You can be forgiven for not caring if you don’t live in the Big Apple (and even if you do!), because Anthony Weiner‘s epic, face-first fall from grace seems to be the only thing anyone’s talking about.

Until now, that is.

Over the weekend current Mayor Michael Bloomberg—lover of bikes and hater of soda—made a classic media relations error by letting his outspoken character get the best of him. In an otherwise  solid interview with Chris Smith of New York magazine, Mike accused his least favorite mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio of running a “class-warfare and racist” campaign.

The word would be inflammatory enough on its own, but de Blasio is a white man married to a black woman with two bi-racial children who have been very visible throughout his campaign.

This story illustrates a very simple media relations no-no for figures who rely on the public’s approval: never call anyone a racist.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Didn’t Look So Great in Blackface

Well, then: welcome back to the grind. We hope your hangover isn’t too harsh—and if it is you can just chug some Pedialyte.

So what happened over the long weekend? To start it all off, Dunkin’ Donuts hung its head and apologized for August’s biggest facepalm moment, a “bizarre and racist” ad starring an actress in blackface. This story makes a little more sense when you consider the fact that the spot ran in Thaliand, where CEOs and creative departments are all apparently a little loopy (and racist).

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Merrill Lynch Settles Largest Racial Discrimination Suit in History

Could there be a less fortunate day on which to announce the settlement of the largest racial discrimination suit ever filed against an American employer?

That’s a no. The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington brings news (technically released last night) that big boy Wall Street brokerage firm Merrill Lynch finally settled the class action suit filed by more than 700 black brokers approximately eight years ago. The total of $160 million, to be divided among affected individuals who’ve worked with the company since 2001, stands as a confirmation of allegations that managers ignored the concerned parties, who were “ostracized by co-workers” and essentially forced into “poor producer” status.

Lynch’s first black CEO, E. Stanley O’Neal, even admitted that black employees rarely got the best work. Why? Because most clients were white and “might not trust” brokers who weren’t.

Wow. That’s what we call “a cultural issue”, not to mention a massive PR problem.

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Case Dismissed: Paula Deen Will Live to Fry Another Day

Today in Sue Me, It’s Monday news, we have no doubt that Donald Trump will continue arguing that his for-profit university is a legitimate business and that the suit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman against Trump University is some sort of political witch hunt. But the year’s second least surprising lawsuit has been resolved with only one reputation ruined.

The racial discrimination/sexual harassment case filed against one Paula Deen by a former employee is no more after all involved reached an agreement “without any award of costs or fees to any party.”

Sounds like a win for Paula, right? Not really.

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Paula Deen’s (Alleged) Racism Goes Viral

Paula Deen sure knows how to stir up trouble, doesn’t she? A recent lawsuit filed against Mrs. Ham-in-the-Face by the manager of her Savannah restaurant contains more than a few barely believable allegations, among them that she and her husband often used the n-word and that:

…white employees were free to use the customer bathroom at the front of the restaurant, but black employees had to use the facilities in the back.

A disgruntled employee stretching the truth? Possibly! But Deen landed herself and her brand in even more hot water today. While answering lawyers’ questions about her supposed desire to host an event catered by an all-black wait staff dressed in Antebellum-era outfits, she described a dreamy “plantation” wedding she wishes she’d planned herself:

The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie…That restaurant represented a certain era in America…I would say they were slaves…I remember saying I would love to have servers like that…but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret.

Now how could anyone misinterpret that?

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Coca-Cola Insists Its Arab ‘Camel Jockey’ Ad Isn’t Racist

Earlier today we asked whether the new practice of releasing Super Bowl ad spots before the big game was a good PR move. Now further developments make the question seem even more relevant: multiple brands have already attracted accusations of racism based on these teasers.

First Volkswagen faced a racial insensitivity backlash for its “painfully white dude speaks with Jamaican accent, mon” spot:

Now Coke faces the same sort of outrage over its Mad Max-style “crazy desert race” ad, which happens to include some unfortunate footage of a stereotypical Arab man pulling a camel.

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PR Fail: Anthropologie’s Super-Racist Candlestick

Oh wow. We absolutely can’t believe the folks at Anthropologie didn’t see this backlash coming. Seriously, just look at this damn thing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We almost want to congratulate the company: it’s pretty hard to offend two huge groups of potential customers with a single item while calling it “whimsical” and pricing it at 400 bucks.

Anthropologie apparently removed the offending stick from its site after thousands of Twitter messages and emails decried it as the racist knicknack that it so obviously is.

…and here’s the inevitable response from the retailer’s PR director:

“An independent artisan makes these one-of-a-kind candlesticks from vintage ceramics. Unfortunately two that we received included extremely inappropriate figurines, and we have removed them from our website. We sincerely regret the offense we have caused.”

Yeah OK, but we know how retail works–somebody approved this thing for sale, entered it into the system, wrote a copy block describing it, etc. The question barely needs to be asked: WHY?!?

Arkansas Pols: Slavery and Segregation Weren’t So Bad

We don’t generally dip into the deep, colorful well of state and local politics, but this epic PR Fail was simply too good to pass up.

Two different Arkansas natives, each of whom hold public office and would like the voters in their districts to re-elect them this year, have made some very dubious statements about certain…elements of our country’s history.

State Representative Jon Hubbard, who’s running this year to represent District 58 again, has some great instincts when it comes to DIY PR: He wrote and self-published a book titled Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative that’s currently available for download on Amazon for $3.99. We have to admire anyone with the discipline to write a 236-page book without any sort of advance. Now let’s examine the quotes that have brought so much attention to this decorated Vietnam vet.

Here’s Hubbard on slavery:

“…the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.”

Hey, that’s not so bad, is it? Wonder what he thinks about segregation?

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