Groupon has been thrust into a wave of backlash Wednesday after one of its third-party sellers posted a listing for shoes with a racial slur.
Two styles of women’s shoes — Womens Mens Suede Leather Fur Lining Winter Boots and Women’s Fringed Suede Moccasin Boots — were sold by sellers including Xularo and Margines and each included the color options including black, brown and n—– brown.
As a result, users of the online marketplace took to Twitter March 28 to express their dismay, with some calling for a boycott.
“@Groupon I will no longer purchase anything from Groupon due to boots you advertise for sale describing the color as n—– -brown,” one person wrote. “🤬 poor taste and highly offensive, but I’m glad you felt comfortable selling them….now I know how you really feel. No more of my $$$.”
“I can’t believe @Groupon has a woman’s boot called ‘N—-r-Brown’. What type of color exactly is ‘N—-r-Brown’?” said someone else.
Initially, some people who reported the listing received a response from the company explaining that featured deals are “largely shaped by our subscribers’ tastes and requests.”
“What works in one city may not be embraced by another and we try to take in local sentiment as much as possible,” it said in part.
Same response i received…so they tested this product in the part of the country that was racist?? I’m trying to figure out in what parts of the country is a racial slur allowed??? So they are standing by this and “sorry that I was offended??”…wtf?? pic.twitter.com/M42yD57Tnt
— A1Shay (@BLAQAF365) March 28, 2018
Yet later that day, Groupon issued an apology saying it was “appalled” by the usage of the slur.
“We are appalled that this language was displayed on our site,” a Groupon said in a statement to various media outlets. “This product description was provided by a third-party seller via our self-service platform. Regardless, this is completely unacceptable and violates our policies — to say nothing of our values.
“When made aware of the issue, we immediately removed the deal — as well as the third-party seller — from our marketplace,” it continued. “Language like this has no place on Groupon, and we’re further strengthening our self-service controls to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Yet the apology has done little to quell concern from customers.
“No way @Groupon no way!!!!! ‘N—-r Brown’???? REALLY!! And I’m tired of apologies from these blatantly racist organizations,” one person tweeted. “THROW THE WHOLE BUSINESS AWAY.”
“Why do they keep testing our race?” said another. “This is ridiculously offensive, no matter what you said in your apology and no matter what you say period, there is no getting around this! Totally inappropriate! You don’t get a pass from me! Groupon will NEVER be used again from my phone!”
“This can’t be real… These mufuccas [sic] not even trying to hide it anymore… Then give a fake apology,” another fired off. “They knew what the hell they were doing.”