Erlene Sam-Peal Staff Writer
When a brand or a company is unrightfully attacked on social media, their dedicated followers are the first to defend them. However, when it’s the brand themselves causing the injustice, those same followers show no fear in calling them out on what they’ve done wrong.
A popular fashion company, Black Milk Clothing, learned that lesson the hard way this week when fans went into an uproar over an “expectation/reality” meme they posted on their fan page comparing two women: a model wearing an R2-D2 dress and actress Mayim Bialik, implying that the former was more desirable than the latter.
Several fans did not take too kindly to the post, especially considering that by posting the meme, the brand broke one of their own commandments, “You shall not make critical comments on other women’s bodies.”
When confronted, instead of answering politely to fan criticism, comments were either deleted or responded to with condescending remarks. This only added further bad publicity than the meme itself. Black Milk continued its response, saying that those upset were in the minority and if it really bothered them, then they should not only unlike their page, but also to stop buying their products.
After numerous comments, bans, and lost support, many took to one of the company’s regional fan groups to share their distaste in the situation as a whole. Some of these people are associated with corporate giant Disney, which could hinder Black Milk’s upcoming licensing deal with them.
Finally, after more than 24 hours of bickering, Black Milk took down the meme, but would not back down from their stance. They stated that the post was “a joke, harmless not hateful” and that they deleted a lot of the comments because they “felt like they had overstepped the mark.”
Their statement only made the situation worse, leaving a lot of customers feeling alienated by a company that they helped build from the ground up. The amount of likes on their Facebook page has already dropped by several thousand.
But the part that sucks the most? Less than a month ago, the company’s head of Sales & Marketing, Cameron Parker, made a comment about how “talking down to your community probably tops the list [as the worst social media faux pas]… Isolating your community by treating them as essentially different from yourself is a great way to cannibalize your social media network.” The belief of “practicing what you preach” has never been more relevant.
In response to the controversy, Mr. Parker issued his own apology, “for everything that has happened over the last couple of days. We made a mistake and we apologize sincerely." His five-point response detailing the company’s views on the dispute can be found and read here.
What was supposed to be a funny little post turned into something no one expected and caused something no one wanted: a company losing its customers, and customers losing their respect for a company. Hopefully in the future, both Black Milk and its lost consumers can find a way back to each other and live once more in nerdy harmony.
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