Yorkville store bashed for 'Black Fridays Matter' ad
Courtney Greenberg, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, November 23, 2016 3:47PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 23, 2016 7:27PM EST
An apology has now been posted online after a Black Friday ad promoted on social media by a Yorkville clothing store prompted outrage.
The store, The Serpentine, located at 132 Cumberland Street, posted a photo of a crowd that appeared to be at a rally or public gathering with the hashtag “Black Fridays Matter” written over the image.
“Mobilize locally, support globally, 20-40% in store only Friday Nov 25th to Sunday Nov 27th,” said the photo caption.
The same image was posted three times on the store’s Instagram account, despite having several commenters accuse the store of appropriating the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The post outraged Instagram users who commented under the image asking them to delete their account. One user said the store was trying “sell clothes off the backs of a movement.”
“It's a very hard moment when you see your pain everything you've been working for used as profit,” said Ravyn Wngz from Black Lives Matter told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday.
The posts were deleted Wednesday afternoon but not before the store posted a strongly worded rebuttal in the comment section.
“It’s unfortunate that most of the people responding to our “play on words” post have never been into our boutique. They know nothing about the brands, the culture or the owners. For starters one of the owners and creative director is black. The colour palette of our product assortment is dark in nature and predominantly black. This post is consistent with previous campaigns that are always “play on words” about different topics. It’s quite terrifying that people always have to find the worst angle on everything. If SNL (Saturday Night Live) or stand up comics poke fun at something or use satire, it’s cool and raved about… but we guess if you are just trying to speak to the fact that people mob stores on Black Friday for deals you’re an a--hole,” the post read.
A woman who answered the phone when CTV News Toronto called Serpentine said the owners were unavailable for comment. However, on Wednesday afternoon, the owners told CTV News Toronto that they did not want to hurt or offend anyone and that the slogan was in no way racially fuelled.
A message posted later on the store's Instagram account said, “We at the Serpentine wanted to take this opportunity to apologize for the confusion and frustration people are feeling regarding our Black Friday post. The post was purely intended to reference the droves of people that shop for deals this coming Friday. The post was a play on words not meant to disrespect anyone or any group. We have customers of all races, religions, and orientations. Serpentine is a multicultural boutique from its staff, all the way down to its brands from around the globe.”
The “play on words” was not taken lightly, especially after the grassroots Black Lives Matter movement spread to Canada after beginning in the United States. The movement started as a response to the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers. Cities across North America, including Toronto, have held Black Lives Matter protests.