Groupon to blame for racial slur in ad

Aileen Xue

As of late, there have been numerous incidents involving racist references in ads featured by major companies, one of the most recent concerning e-commerce website Groupon, which is known for providing customers with various coupons and promotions.

Two ads listed by third-party sellers Margines and Kojwa, which are located in China, used the n-word to describe the shade of brown of several pairs of winter boots.

While Groupon immediately removed the ads, banned the retailers from its website and apologized to its users for featuring an ad with a racial slur, the company has faced criticism and backlash for letting those ads pass through their screening process.

Even though Groupon did not create the ad itself, the company must take responsibility of monitoring what content gets put out on its platforms.

“There’s not much Groupon can do, they can only make sure that they ban the retailers,” said sophomore Shounak Ranabhor. “Groupon should learn from this horrifying event and develop a more sophisticated and detailed screening process.”

The two ads have been featured on Groupon’s website for about a month. While Groupon claims to flag hundreds of ads with its screening process, it ultimately failed to prevent this ad from showing up on its website.

“Especially with America’s past and racism against certain groups of people, using these strong words to describe a product is completely unnecessary,” said Ranabhor. “It also brings bad publicity and offends a lot of people. It doesn’t matter if you’re directly affected by that slur, it’s just wrong to use a word like that.”

Many customers went to Twitter to voice their outrage and disappointment in the company, resulting in the trending hashtags #boycottgroupon and #ShutdownGroupon.

During this time frame, the value of Groupon’s stock dropped by a staggering 5.5 percent. While Groupon issued an apology and removed both sellers from its website, many customers are unwilling to use the app again.

“I feel that the side the consumers are taking is a little extreme,” said junior Rita Chen. “I am pretty sure that Groupon was able to prevent other ads from showing up through their screening process. Just because one ad got through doesn’t mean that they weren’t doing their job and carefully vetting ads.”

Nevertheless, as offensive advertisements are bound to request a feature on on Groupon, the company should implement a stricter filtering process before they allow any advertisements onto its website.

Since the company is the channel through which the n-word was displayed, Groupon should accept its fault and move toward improving its website content.

This is not the first time, however, that an ad with a racial slur has passed screening processes and aired on a media platform. A couple days before Groupon’s ads were found to contain racial slurs, Chance the Rapper called out a Heineken beer commercial after the characters in it were found to have said the phrase“sometimes lighter is better.”

“The prevalence of racial slurs in the world today, even in high profile companies, just proves that racism is still  prevalent in our modern society,” said sophomore Joyce Tung. “However, the fact that many people are speaking out against these acts demonstrates that our society has made significant progress with racism.”

Similarly, in January, clothing retailer H&M had to apologize to angered customers for having an African American boy model a shirt sporting the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

“Racial discrimination has become so rooted in American culture that it makes its way into our everyday lives, sometimes without us even realizing it,” said Ranabhor. “I was walking to school the other day and I heard somebody yell at another guy “hey n—-”. It was really offensive and I was taken aback by what had happened.”

With racial slurs appearing in multiple advertisements, major companies must make sure to carefully vet their ads in order to insure incidents like that of Groupon’s and other major companies do not happen again.

As of late, there have been many incidents involving racist references in ads featured by major companies, one of the most recent concerning e-commerce website Groupon, known for providing customers with coupons and promotions. Two ads listed by third-party sellers Margines and Kojwa, which are located in China, used the n-word to describe the shade of brown of several pairs of winter boots. While Groupon immediately removed the ads, banned the retailers from its website and apologized to its users for featuring an ad with a racial slur, the company has faced criticism and backlash for letting those ads pass through their screening process. Even though Groupon did not create the ad itself, the company must take responsibility of monitoring what content gets put out on its platforms.

“There’s not much Groupon can do, they can only make sure that they ban the retailers,” said sophomore Shounak Ranabhor. “Groupon should learn from this horrifying event and develop a more sophisticated and detailed screening process.”

The two ads have been featured on Groupon’s website for about a month. While Groupon claims to flag hundreds of ads with its screening process, it ultimately failed to prevent this ad from showing up on its website.

“Especially with America’s past and racism against certain groups of people, using these strong words to describe a product is completely unnecessary,” said Ranabhor. “It also brings bad publicity and offends a lot of people. It doesn’t matter if you’re directly affected by that slur, it’s just wrong to use a word like that.”

Many customers went to Twitter to voice their outrage and disappointment in the company, resulting in the trending hashtags #boycottgroupon and #ShutdownGroupon. During this time frame, the value of Groupon’s stock dropped by 5.5 percent. While Groupon issued an apology and removed both sellers from its website, many customers are unwilling to use the app again.

“I feel that the side the consumers are taking is a little extreme,” said junior Rita Chen. “I am pretty sure that Groupon was able to prevent ads from showing up. Just because one ad got through doesn’t mean that they weren’t doing their job.”

Nevertheless, as offensive advertisements are bound to request a feature on on Groupon, the company should implement a stricter filtering process before they allow any advertisements onto its website. Since the company is the channel through which the n-word was displayed, Groupon should accept its fault and move toward improving its website content.

This is not the first time that an ad with a racial slur has passed screening processes and aired on a media platform. A few days before Groupon’s ads were found to contain racial slurs, Chance the Rapper called out a Heineken beer commercial after the characters in it were found to have said “sometimes lighter is better.”

“The prevalence of racial slurs in the world today, even in high profile companies, just proves that racism is still present in our modern society,” said sophomore Joyce Tung. “The fact that people are speaking out against this, however, shows that our society has made some progress.”

Similarly, in January, clothing retailer H&M had to apologize to angered customers for having an African American boy model a shirt sporting the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

“Racial discrimination has become so rooted in American culture that it makes its way into our everyday lives,” said Ranabhor. “I was walking to school the other day and I heard somebody yell at another guy “hey n—-”. It was really offensive and I was taken aback by what had happened.”

With racial slurs appearing in multiple advertisements, major companies must make sure to carefully vet their ads in order to insure incidents like that of Groupon’s and other major companies do not happen again.