Updated Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, 1:02 p.m. EST: Seasalt & Co. updated its Facebook page with the following statement:
There are some companies out there that attempt to make a statement with their names and the names of their products and are oblivious to the fact that the names are offensive and rife with racist overtones. Take, for example, the public relations firm formerly known as Strange Fruit PR.
That firm thought its name could stand for someone who stood out in a crowd, who was innovative and remarkable. Its owners claimed that they didn’t know that the song with the same title, sung by Billie Holiday, was about the lynching of black people. But of course, people on Twitter had to school the owners. After being publicly dragged for its absurd name, the company eventually changed it and issued an apology.
Well, it’s a new day, and a new company has decided that naming its new graphic design set “The Hanging Tree” and using a noose in advertisements for its set of thematic photographic images isn’t offensive to anyone at all.
Jewelry designer and graphic artist Rachel Stewart confronted Seasalt & Co. on Facebook and Twitter. At first the company offered an explanation via Facebook, stating that it, too, had ancestors who were hanged and tortured and that the images represented any person who has been wronged.
As Stewart posted more information on Twitter about the company, it threatened her with a lawsuit.
As others have joined in on putting the company on notice that its imagery is offensive, Seasalt & Co. still doesn’t understand why people have an issue with it and has said that those questioning the company are being slanderous:
It’s amazing how oblivious people can be when they think it benefits them. Sure, Seasalt & Co. can use whatever type of imagery it wants, but as Stewart stated on Twitter, it probably wouldn’t use a swastika image for anything.
Maybe Seasalt & Co. will receive the same lesson that Strange Fruit PR did, but it seems that this company isn’t backing down and probably doesn’t care that the graphic design set’s name is both offensive and a PR nightmare.