web analytics
September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


DC Deals Site Posts Slothish Apology, Used Dreidels to Symbolize Greed

An impossible-to-find apology announcing a refund "for all who attended" doesn't quite cut it as a "heartfelt apology" for the "bigoted and hurtful behavior" of equating Jews with greed.
LivingSocial, an online daily deals site, posted an obscure and lame apology after using dreidels to symbolize greed for their Halloween 7 Deadly Sins party

LivingSocial, an online daily deals site, posted an obscure and lame apology after using dreidels to symbolize greed for their Halloween 7 Deadly Sins party

In the latter half of 2013 it is not surprising that – when caught – a public company would apologize for using a Jewish symbol as an icon for greed. And that’s just what happened recently.  But how much longer will it take before whispering an-after-the-fact, passive apology, which sounds heartfelt if you read it quickly but which, upon examination, appears to be anything but, is no longer acceptable?

First the background.

An online daily discount deals site, LivingSocial, hosted a “7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party” on Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.  The party, held at LivingSocial’s 918 F Street address, had seven different rooms, each representing one of the seven deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.

Dreidels, an iconic symbol for Hanukkah – and for Jews – were placed in the LivingSocial’s party room for greed.  There were also gold coins.  This room was advertised on the LivingSocial Events page : “In this shimmering room full of silver and gold, we’ll get greedy challenging friends to a plethora of games, all while sipping on a Midas Touch cocktail.”

Someone at the party was not amused. This person’s disappointment was conveyed to Washington Jewish Week senior writer Suzanne Pollack, and the story was then picked up by a (very) few other media outlets.

Not surprisingly, some people expressed their outrage on talkbacks to the few media accounts, while others expressed their own personal versions of anti-Semitism masquerading as “level-headedness” or annoyance with those who complained.

But all the accounts pointed to an apology issued by LivingSocial, and left it at that.

Here’s the apology, dated October 30:

An Apology

Poor judgment was exhibited this past Saturday when religious holiday symbols were associated in a degrading manner during a Halloween event located at our 918 F Street venue.

This insensitivity was offensive and inconsistent with our values as a company. Let me make this perfectly clear – we do not condone prejudice, nor do we tolerate bigoted or hurtful behavior of any sort. What happened at the event was an embarrassment to us as a company and we are deeply apologetic. We are offering a full refund to anyone who attended the event. Customers who attended the event and wish to be refunded can call our customer service department directly and they will be reimbursed immediately.

We know we let you down. We promise to make it up to you, and demonstrate that LivingSocial is better than this, now, and every day forward.

Tim O’Shaughnessy CEO and Cofounder

Here’s the problem with the apology.  Actually, there are several.

APOLOGY HIDDEN ON THE WEBSITE

First, it is almost impossible to find the apology.  You can’t find it on the homepage of the LivingSocial website, and you can’t find it by clicking on any of the links on the top of the site.  It is only posted on the LivingSocial blog. And you can only find that by scrolling way past all the “deals.” Then, at the very bottom, you have to keep going through the remainder of the categories and at the bottom of the second column, click “blog.”

PASSIVE AND INCONSISTENT APOLOGY: THE COMPANY DID TOLERATE ITS OWN ‘BIGOTED’ AND ‘HURTFUL BEHAVIOR’ 

But second, and more importantly, the statement of LivingSocial’s CEO doesn’t ring true.

If using the unnamed “religious symbols” in a degrading manner – as O’Shaugnessy admitted “happened” at the LivingSocial’s Oct. 26 Halloween party – is “inconsistent with [LivingSocial’s] values,” and was “an embarrassment to [LivingSocial] for which [they] are deeply apologetic,” then how did it happen?  It isn’t as if a different company, at a non LivingSocial site used dreidels as a symbol of greed – It was a LivingSocial event at a LivingSocial space.

And why did it take several days and some media attention before the Oct. 30 apology was issued?

Despite the distancing language employed by O’Shaughnessy in the apology attributed to him, “what happened at the event,” when “religious holiday symbols were associated” was not something that just spontaneously occurred. Someone – someone affiliated with LivingSocial – did it.

A LivingSocial employee or agent purchased the dreidels and placed them in the “Greed Room.” And that was at an event to which LivingSocial invited the public, and at which LivingSocial employees and/or agents were present.  No one from LivingSocial had any problem linking a Jewish symbol with the sin of greed until some outsider made a fuss about it.

Until someone complained, LivingSocial not only “condone[d] prejudice,” it also “tolerated bigoted” and “hurtful behavior” by using an anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews as greedy.

Those are the words in the apology, above LivingSocial’s CEO and co-founder’s name. Either he did not mean that his company’s use of the dreidel as a symbol of greed is degrading, bigoted and hurtful, as well as an expression of prejudice, in which case the apology is bogus, or the language used in the online (but very hard to find) apology accurately reflects the views of LivingSocial’s head honcho.  If that’s so, there should be even more housecleaning at LivingSocial than has been in the news recently.

But what could LivingSocial do about the problem, given that no one from the company present at the Oct. 26 event prevented, or put a stop, to the shame of degrading a religious group?

ENTIRELY PASSIVE APOLOGY/REFUND OFFER, INCONSISTENT WITH BEING ‘DEEPLY APOLOGETIC’

And here’s the third problem with the apology.  Even though LivingSocial knows exactly who purchased tickets to its 7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party, and it could have sent out both an apology as well as a refund to everyone who attended, it did not do that.

Instead, only people who happened to read either the few news accounts of LivingSocial’s behavior, or people who happened upon its blog, would know that the company was “deeply apologetic” and was “offering a full refund to anyone who attended the event.”

The Jewish Press contacted LivingSocial in order to determine whether the apology for the Oct. 26 event was sent to all who attended the event, and whether the refund was automatically sent to the attendees.  The response came from the MSLGroup, a “strategic communications company,” but it said that the responses could be attributed to Sara Parker of LivingSocial.  A Google search revealed that Sara Parker, at least as of Aug. 1, 2013, is the spokesperson for LivingSocial.

Those responses made clear that the apology and refund were only made to a single person whose complaint was brought to the attention of LivingSocial.

But The Jewish Press was able to determine that LivingSocial knows exactly who attended the Oct. 26 event.  Its reporter signed up with LivingSocial – the only way to speak with someone in their “customer service department,” which is what the apology instructs Oct. 26 attendees to notify about receiving a refund – a LivingSocial representative was able to tell whether a caller had attended the event or not.

When pressed about whether LivingSocial had remained passive in distributing apologies and refunds or had actively sought out attendees in order to ensure everyone understood that LivingSocial does not “condone” “bigoted and hurtful behavior,” the customer service manager agreed that LivingSocial chose to be passive.

In other words, an apology for using a Jewish symbol to represent one of the seven deadly sins, greed, was made in a way that symbolizes another one of those sins: sloth. And if King Solomon was alive now, no doubt an eighth sin would be included on the list, that of exhibiting religious or racial insensitivity.

Sloth and insensitivity, maybe 2014 will be less hospitable to both.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “DC Deals Site Posts Slothish Apology, Used Dreidels to Symbolize Greed”

  1. Laila Israel says:

    so, OShaughnessy, howz about we Jews use leprechauns and booze to symbolize idiocy?

  2. To add to the "distancing language employed by O’Shaughnessy in the apology attributed to him"…I find the offer of a" refund" rather discomforting. I feel the offer, seems to play into the money and greed perception. Furthermore, it seems to say that refunding money is what will make the annoyed Jew go away happily. Everyone who attended should be offered their money back as the event should not have happened. I wonder if anyone would turn down the refund…..

    Laurie

    Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/dc-deals-site-posts-slothish-apology-used-dreidels-to-symbolize-greed/2013/11/04/

  3. ignorance and irish. no need for two different words. either can substitute for each.

  4. Gerry Kaplan says:

    the offer of a refund is as disgusting as the whole scenario

  5. Paul Hatgil says:

    Where is the apology when Israelis call the Palestinians less than human, etc.?

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jim Bennett, zl, father of Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett.
Father of Naftali Bennett, Jim Bennett, 73, Passes Away
Latest News Stories
Jim Bennett, zl, father of Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett.

Jim Bennett, 73, father of Education Minister Naftali Bennett, has passed away in Haifa.

IAF fighter jet heads to  Gaza.

Israeli fighter pilots bombed a Hamas military post in northern Gaza at dawn on Thursday.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel. Aug. 31, 2015.

Sen. Cotton sounds confident there is much more that can be done to protect us all from the Nuclear Iran Deal.

Blood Moon

Jewish agricultural laws aren’t necessarily something the rest of the world easily becomes fixated on, but lately the word “Shemitah” has been popping up frequently in Google searches.

The Knesset passed its first reading for the 2015-2016 budget by a vote of 57 to 53.

The Israeli police shot him before he threw his bomb at them.

Shortly before 7 PM, sniper fire originating from Gaza hit a home in the Israeli town of Netiv Ha’asara.

A teacher at an UNRWA school in Jordan includes a Jewish blood libel cartoon on his Facebook account.

“I, Yaakov Litzman, pledge…to be faithful to the government of Israel and to its laws.”

Pope Francis invited the President of Israel for his first official visit to the Vatican.

The Maryland Democrat caved in even though she is retiring at the end of her current term.

Another rash of life-threatening firebombing and rock-throwing attacks has prompted Israel to think twice about abandoning soldiers and civilians as sitting ducks.

Pressure from Gush Etzion leaders has convinced Ya’alon to authorize a site in memory of last year’s three kidnap-murder victims.

As reported earlier, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s grandfather’s grave on the Mount of Olives was desecrated overnight by Arab vandals who destroyed and burned numerous graves. The Mount of Olives is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world.

British liberal and leftists largely support the deal, though there are some center-left figures who oppose the agreement,

(JERUSALEM) – Beekeepers from across Israel delivered their honey products to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week in light of a festive event held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem for the upcoming Jewish New Year. A delegation of the Israeli Honey Council, which also included a three-generation family of children, parents, and grandparents in […]

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel. Aug. 31, 2015.

Sen. Cotton sounds confident there is much more that can be done to protect us all from the Nuclear Iran Deal.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D)

Three Reps and two Senators announced their support for the Nuclear Iran Deal.

THThree NYC Cong. Ds from heavily Jewish districts defied constituents, announcing support for Nuclear Iran Deal.

Brooklyn politicians and community leaders called on Cong. members to vote down the Nuclear Iran deal.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair, allegedly blocked a DNC resolution supporting the Iran Deal.

Swiss Ambassador Portrays U.S. and Iran as doves of peace defecating on Netanyahu.

A report by the entity responsible for ensuring the peaceful development of nuclear energy worldwide and the one upon which the world depends for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity revealed that over the past few months Iran has been working on and adding to a building at its Parchin site. Parchin is an Iranian military complex located southeast of Tehran. It […]

The Donald and the Cruz together against Iran on Sept. 9 at D.C. rally.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/dc-deals-site-posts-slothish-apology-used-dreidels-to-symbolize-greed/2013/11/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: