We have seen government interventions when beers take on brand characters like Santa or the Easter Bunny. People throw up their hands in a combination of libertarian outrage and laughter. But what happens when the images are more directly hurtful even if the message presented is quite dislocated from that hurt?
In her complaint, Ero noted that she was born in Nigeria, where people with albinism are often targeted for ritualistic murder. The threat of violent persecution was part of the reason she and her family fled to Canada when she was a teenager. Earls defends 'Albino' branding Mark Barry, vice-president of human resources with Earls Restaurants, issued a statement to media that said Earls created and named its house beer "Albino Rhino" 25 years ago, and in no way meant to discriminate or offend. "The name was chosen because it was fun and whimsical in sound and denoted something rare and special – we felt proud to have such a beautiful animal, the white rhino, representing our brand," Barry said.
It's a very interesting question. It does no good for you to suggest the complaint is groundless, the sign of society's fall or complain any other way about the process. It is what it is. It is not your home jurisdiction and certainly not your life. What it is, rather, is a conflict between a very interesting rhyme, perhaps a bit of slang but otherwise fairly innocuous brand. It is hardly played up on the Earls menu. It's also the name of a dry cleaning shop elsewhere in BC, too. It's also the name of a small web design firm but, then again, what isn't.
Interestingly, the use of "albino" by the same restaurant chain has been complained about before - only it was last year and in relation to its chicken wings dinner. But it was brought by folk who are involved with a charity that takes them "to Tanzania several times a year to help people with albinism who are outcast and attacked for their body parts used in folk medicine." Not small stuff. So, at what point does something that is such a small part of overall branding as "albino" is to this chain become of so diminished value that the harsh message is sends to a few should take precedence? I suppose that is the hard question that makes having a hearing worthwhile.