Yorkville boutique issues apology after punning Black Lives Matter for sale
The Serpentine boutique is pictured on Cumberland Street in Yorkville. (Google)
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, November 23, 2016 3:00PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 23, 2016 7:27PM EST
An Instagram post by a Yorkville boutique was meant to draw customers to a Black Friday sale, but has instead garnered outrage over its perceived racial insensitivity.
The post by The Serpentine boutique appeared Tuesday and showed a crowd of impassioned people, many of whom are black. Scrawled over the image in red writing was the hash tag “#BlackFridaysMatter.”
“Mobilize locally, support globally, 20-40% in store only Friday Nov 25th to Sunday Nov 27th,” the store wrote in an accompanying caption.
The image was posted to the account three times and quickly drew dozens of negative responses, with some accusing the store of trying to “sell clothes off the backs of a movement.”
Responding to the negative comments, the store posted its own comment defending the post, calling it a “play on words.”
“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.”
The store went on to say that the post is consistent with previous campaigns where they have played on words and said that it is “quite terrifying that people always have to find the worst angle on everything.”
All of the images were deleted at around 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Requests to the boutique for further comment made by CP24 were not immediately returned.
An apology, however, appeared on the store’s Instagram account a short time later.
“We at (T)he Serpentine wanted to take this opportunity to apologize for the confusion and frustration people are feeling regarding our Black Friday post,” it read.
“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.”
The Black Lives Matter movement started in the United States and quickly spread to a number of other countries, including Canada, as a response to lethal police violence against black men. The grassroots movement has seen massive protests in cities across North America over the past few years
The Serpentine is not the first store to misfire with a play on the movement’s name. In August, an Italian restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M. came under fire after selling hats and T-shirts that read ‘black olives matter.’