Social media trolls have reacted venomously to a positive account of a young black man being “very nice and polite” over social media, forcing the company behind the post to make an apology – an apology for being nice.
International law firm Gowling WLG decided to get involved in Canada’s Black History Month, which happens in February, by inviting employees to share positive thoughts and experiences.
One employee, whose story was later used as a screensaver for all the firm’s employees recounted her daughter’s friendship with a black friend called Daniel who was “well brought up”.
The account read: “My daughter inspires me a lot. When she was younger, she often spoke of her friend Daniel. One day, my husband and I attended an event at her school and finally got to meet Daniel. He was very nice and extremely polite; my grandmother would have said he was ‘well brought up’.
“Never during the course of her friendship with Daniel did my daughter mention he was black. That night, I went to sleep with the hope that one day, race-based conflicts would forever be behind us.”
After being used as a screensaver, the snippet was posted on social media provoking outrage from radical civil rights campaigners.
“Let’s do some issue spotting together on why this quote from one of your employees should have been left on the cutting-room floor”, tweeted one troll.
“Our company is so committed to diversity, that one of our employees has a kid with a black friend!” Another posted.
A humbled Gowling WLG responded: “We apologise for our screensaver message that appeared in this post. It does not reflect our values.
“The message has been taken down and we are reaching out to all of our people to listen to their perspectives and learn from this matter.”
One of the firm’s chairmen sitting behind his desk across the Atlantic thought it necessary to regurgitate the anti-anti-racism apology.
“We apologise for the offence this has caused people and have removed the post. We are also speaking with our people to ensure their voices and perspectives on this are heard, and so we can learn from this matter,” said Andy Stylianou, chairman of Gowling WLG UK.
“Addressing racism in society requires a collective effort and we actively encourage our colleagues to become allies. However, we recognise that we have more work to do to educate, upskill and empower them.”
What an unbelievable waste of time.