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Monday, October 28, 2013

Nemo Design Posted A Photo of Two Dudes in Blackface on FB

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Sooo, what's more jaw-dropping? The fact that local youth-brand agency Nemo Designs thought it was a good move to post this photo on their Facebook page?

Or the fact that it's been up since October 21? It also has six "likes." It's apparently a photo from some past year's Halloween festivities, one of many costume pics that are being posted on their wall to drum up enthusiasm for the "Nemoween" party they are having at their offices on Friday. It's unclear whether the people in the photograph are/were Nemo employees or not. A selection from the comments on the post:

"What the hell are you thinking?? In what universe is this ever at all appropriate?"

"Wrong. Seriously wrong. Not funny, not cute, just offensive."

"This is disgusting and unacceptable."

"Fuck this company and this bull shit.. I'm sure they thought this one through."

"WOW! This is incredibly bad. For a design agency that has their 'Finger on the Pulse of Modern Youth', you REALLY blew it."

"FAIL"

And another commenter posted this helpful flowchart:

438169059.png
  • Twitter

I have a message in to Ryan Barrett, their Associate Marketing Manager, for comment. (Someone finally took down the photo this afternoon.)

H/T to Stephanie for the tip.

UPDATE! Nemo posted an apology on their Facebook page:

In an effort to promote our annual Halloween party we have been posting images of partygoers from years past.
It certainly was never the intention of NEMO to be disrespectful or harmful in anyway with the selection of those images.
We realize we may have offended people and truly apologize.

UPDATE! There is now a second, longer and more thoughtful apology posted by Nemo—or, more specifically, by founder Trevor Graves. You can read it behind the cut.

You are absolutely, positively right.

Our earlier post today went out as a knee-jerk reaction from our deep embarrassed and an immediate willingness to acknowledge our bad.

What it should have said is: “we really, REALLY screwed up.”

That photo was offensive and we should have totally known better.

Although there is no excuse, this was one individual’s very unfortunate mistake who did not know what "blackface" is, not a company-wide policy of racism. That's not to say we don’t bear full responsibility as an agency for this happening. If we had better processes in place, it would never have happened at all and that changed for us today.

In addition, we will immediately look at the internal education of our youthful workforce to ensure that unintentional racism like this is not any part of our culture. Ever. We will also be sharing through our social channels some resources that can help all of us here – and hopefully some outside our walls – be more aware.

Apologies can’t fix it, but we hope our future actions can.

Attached is a link to a campaign on the subject: The “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” poster campaign was created to raise awareness of racially insensitive costumes. We can take this opportunity to use our collective voice to educate others.

http://www.ohio.edu/orgs/stars/Home.html

- Trevor Graves, Founder

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