Earls Drops 'Albino Rhino' After Human Rights Fight

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Earls Restaurants is dropping its 'Albino Rhino' brand after a human rights complaint. (Earls via Facebook)
Earls Restaurants is dropping its 'Albino Rhino' brand after a human rights complaint. (Earls via Facebook)

Earls Restaurants is dropping the "Albino Rhino" brand from its menus after a Vancouver woman with albinism filed a human rights complaint against them last year.

In her complaint, Ikponwosa (I.K.) Ero said the marketing of the "Albino" line was demeaning to Ero and all people with the genetic condition and that it was being done deliberately to evoke a sense of oddness about being albino.

The brand is largely used to sell Earls' signature ale, Albino Rhino beer. The pale ale was created 25 years ago and is named after the white rhinoceros on the label.

Communications Manager Cate Simpson said it was never their intention to offend anyone, but agreed Earls had come to appreciate people with the rare genetic condition struggle with discrimination.

"We did give thought to the fact we were offending a group of people and to that end we decided to move forward and remove the word albino from our beer branding."

Misunderstood condition

Ero told the CBC she is very pleased with the decision.

"I'm happy for Earls. I think they eventually did the responsible thing and have created a good example," she said.

"There is some responsibility for human beings to consider not only our intents, but also the effects of things that we do not intend.

"This was undignifying to take a medical condition that basically almost defines peoples' lives and use it to sell food products."

Ero said anyone thinking the case was "political correctness gone mad" should try to get to know someone suffering from albinism to better understand the condition.

"Most people have learned about the condition from pop culture. It's grossly exaggerated and grossly wrong."

She said people with albinism have this imposed on them on many levels, even being asked if they are vampires or have super powers.

A statement on the Earls website made it clear the restaurant chain does not agree with Ero's complaint.

Neverthless, all Earls menus will reflect the name change by April 24.

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