Hobby Lobby Responds to Anti-Semitic Comment

Hobby-Lobby-logo

After a controversial post by blogger, Ken Berwitz, about an anti-Semitism comment made by a Hobby Lobby employee, thousands of customers spoke out about the incident.

Berwitz explains in his post that when a friend asked why a new store in  Marlboro, NJ did not have any Chanukah decorations the employee responded, “We don’t cater to you people.”

The blogger then decided to follow-up at Hobby Lobby headquarters to ask why they do not carry Chanukah items. Berwitz was told that it was because the owner of the company, David Green, is a Christian and does not have Judaism values.

Hobby Lobby is open about its Christian roots. On the “Our Company” tab of its website they state their beliefs.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 11.04.29 AM

However, shortly after Berwitz published his blog, thousands of angry Twitter followers, including comedian and actor Seth Rogen — who is Jewish — expressed their opinions to the company.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 11.59.18 AM

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 11.20.41 AM

Hobby Lobby released a statement on both Facebook and Twitter quickly after the public comments. The company also created a post on Facebook asking followers for feedback to help improve shoppers’ experiences in the future.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 10.33.55 AM

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 10.33.34 AM

Hobby Lobby even made a conscious and sincere effort to repsond to Seth Rogen’s comments.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 12.24.01 PM

Two days following the hype on Twitter and Facebook from angry followers, Hobby Lobby released a second statement online. The statement announced that the company would begin to offer Chanukah items in select stores in New York and New Jersey. Hobby Lobby decided on the two states due to the large number of Jewish communities in both places.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 10.33.17 AM

A representative of the company also provided a statement to Entrepreneur.com regarding the employee who originally made the comment and the new Jewish holiday merchandise that will soon be available.

After reading this post have your views on the company changed? Do you think that Hobby Lobby handled the situation appropriately? How do you feel about the company only providing Jewish holiday merchandise in only New York and New Jersey?

This entry was posted in Stratus PR. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hobby Lobby Responds to Anti-Semitic Comment

  1. Robert Soares says:

    It’s good to see Hobby Lobby reacted by being open to other religions/cultures in their merchandise. When the Chick-fil-A CEO made a statement about his stance against gay marriage in 2012, he did not retract his statement nor apologize and begin donating money to foundations that benefit civil rights. Hobby Lobby saw the problem and fixed it.

  2. Charlotte Das says:

    I believe the views and actions of Hobby Lobby are extremely offensive. Even though the owner has his own beliefs and opinions, he is in a position where, because he owns the store, he is required to recognize the needs of everyone who may shop at Hobby Lobby. In the article on Entrepreneur.com, the writer briefly compares Hobby Lobby to Chick-fil-A in the sense that both stores close on Sundays to allow time for worship. However, even though Chick-fil-A has had a past with being outspoken of their strong beliefs, the company does not go so far as to exclude any type of group based solely on their values. I believe that Hobby Lobby’s “solution” to provide Chanukah merchandise in only two states also neglects the true problem; it shows that they are just responding to the current problem and trying to provide an easy fix. Instead, the company should use this time to attempt to reposition the store as one that cares about all people no matter their values, all across the country, not just in the location where the problem started. In my opinion, I think this is a major setback for the company and will cause many problems for them in the future because of the way it was handled.

  3. Katlyn Orton says:

    I think this is a great example of issues that many companies face. This doesn’t change my opinion of Hobby Lobby because I think it is their choice to supply Chanukah items or not. I see why it may upset some citizens, but not all companies cater to every religion, race, ethnic background.

    I think that Hobby Lobby handled the situation appropriately, but maybe a little too publicly. I understand that they were trying to publicly make amends and apologize, but it seemed to me that they were the ones drawing attention to the problem. They spoke about the situation multiple times on their social media platforms, which, in my opinion, was almost adding insult to injury. They were vulnerable in the sense that they now put themselves out there for everyone to comment and bash them on their own pages. I think it would have been better if they released a statement and left it at that. Again, I appreciate their candid apology, but I think it went a little far.

    Furthermore, I think it was a good move for them to put Jewish holiday products in their NYC and New Jersey stores as there was an “overwhelming demand.” I think that that it is unrealistic to put these items in all of their stores nationwide simply due to their number of stores and the tight timeframe between now and the holidays. They are doing what they can with what they have, and for that I commend them.

Comments are closed.