BUSINESS
06/14/2020 13:46 EDT

Calgary Company Pulls 'Ignorant' Black Lives Matter Gelato, Apologizes

Righteous Gelato says it "will do better."

CALGARY — A Calgary company is apologizing for making a Black Lives Matter gelato, which it says it launched Friday with the intention of donating the profits to organizations that support inclusion and diversity.

But on Saturday, Righteous Gelato posted a letter on Facebook from CEO James Boettcher stating the company “did the wrong thing” and “will do better.”

Boettcher also admits in the post that the company’s choice of chocolate as the flavour for their fundraiser was “ignorant.”

On its website, Righteous Gelato boasts it has “a braver vision to change the world.”

The company did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

The post says the company still wants to fulfil its original goal of raising funds for the Black community, and says 100 per cent of profits from its online store in June will be invested in organizations that “you chose that focus on Black Lives.”

“While our intentions were from a place of love, we truly failed, and we are wholeheartedly sorry,” Boettcher said in the post.

“Thank you for offering us the feedback and the opportunity to learn. We are listening.”

Black Lives Matter protests have been organized across the United States and around the world following the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died while a police officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The protests are calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality.

Dorsa Zamanpour with United Black People Allyship Movement in Calgary said in an email that Righteous Gelato needs black employees who are familiar with their communities as well as with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Zamanpour said the group has reached out to Boettcher, but has not heard back.

“The UBPAM does not support this type of performative allyship; with all of the resources available to corporations these days, ignorance is not a justification,” she wrote. 

“Righteous Gelato and any other companies that strive to be allies should hire and consult with true community leaders before attempting to ‘stand in solidarity.’”

Boettcher said on Facebook that the company will remove artwork and labels from people who have already ordered the gelato. He said that they’d chosen “a friend and community builder,” but “could have chosen a Black artist.”

“There is no quick fix to the problems our world is facing with racism, and there is no quick fix for our failures in trying to help,” Boettcher wrote.

“In our intention of doing the right thing, we did the wrong thing. And that’s not ok.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2020.

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