Guelph Anti-Bullying Coalition headed up by Lynne MacIntyre was out doing some Back to School shopping with her 14 year old daughter a couple of weeks ago. They stopped into the very popular Bluenotes store looking for clothing when Lynne noticed a t-shirt on the wall that said, “You can’t sit with us”. Lynne was irate and sent a letter to Michael Roden the COO/Executive VP and here is a bit of her letter.
“Bluenotes has truly disappointed me as I was utterly shocked that your “buyer” would think it is ok to have a shirt that says, “You Can’t Sit With Us”. This is so incredibly irresponsible, insensitive and out of touch of the reality of the implications of such a statement. This mean girl attitude of “you can’t sit here” implies that it is okay to isolate people and to bully people through the use of clothing. It isn’t funny and it saddens me that not one adult in your organization would raise the issue that you have a social and moral responsibility to ensure your products do not put kids at risk.”
We pulled together with other coalitions and Carol Todd to voice our concerns and we were thrilled to receive this letter from Bluenotes within days. We are pleased to report that Bluenotes has pulled the t-shirt off shelves across Canada and online shopping website!!! See response below from Bluenotes Michael Roden:
“Thank you for taking the time to write to us. Like you, we take our social responsibility very seriously and appreciate customers who take the time to tell us when things are not quite right. We have a long standing partnership with Kids Help Phone and participate in multiple fundraising events throughout the year in support of such topics of anti- bullying and mental health awareness. We are very sorry for how this slogan has been interpreted and appreciate your point of view. We have pulled all of these shirts off of our web and are recalling them all from stores to showcase our commitment to our social responsibility and additionally that we do not in any way condone or support this type of behavior nor was this our intention for how this would be perceived. We have reviewed our current processes with our merchandising teams to ensure that each screen is proofed before it goes to print in an effort to ensure we remain a socially responsible and wholesome retailer. Thank you again for our feedback. We look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.”