Home Depot, Motel 6 Drop Agency over Founder’s Racist Remark

A number of consumer companies are cutting ties with advertising agency Richards Group after a report that its founder made a racist remark about a proposed Motel 6 ad campaign.

According to Ad Age, Stan Richards, 87, said the suggested ad for the motel was “too Black” and wouldn’t resonate with the chain’s “significant White supremacist constituents.” It took place during an internal meeting at the agency last week, the motel chain said.

Glenn Dady, principal and creative director of Richards Group, said in an emailed statement the agency’s “brand has been tarnished.” Dady was named as Stan Richards’s successor late last year.

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Ad Age reported that Richards apologized for the remark on an agency-wide Zoom call.

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Motel 6 said it was “outraged” by the statements and has cut ties with the agency, effective immediately. “We are a company who embraces diversity of all forms and have a zero tolerance policy for hateful comments of any kind, whether that be within our organization, at third-party vendors or at our properties,” a spokesman for Motel 6 said in an emailed statement.

Home Depot Inc., another client, also announced it would drop the agency following the remark.

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Orkin Inc., the pest-control company, said it was “actively reviewing” its partnership with Richards Group. {snip}

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The Salvation Army, which also has worked with Richards Group, said it was “deeply concerned” by the comments.

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The quick severing of ties reflects a new reality among U.S. companies: They’re less willing to ignore the casual racism that was long commonplace in corporate America. {snip}

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Richards’s comments may reflect both a generational disconnect from what’s acceptable in society, as well as an assumption that his power and wealth would insulate him from repercussions, said John Paul Rollert, who teaches business ethics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. {snip}

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