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Regina business faces backlash over posts on Blackout Tuesday
REGINA -- Earlier this week, businesses and individuals posted black screens on their social media accounts as part of Blackout Tuesday. The trend is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, but a local store is facing backlash for what they posted on that day.
Tuesday was business as usual for Regina’s Loom and Magpie. With the store closed to customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their focus has been on featuring products on social media.
However, a post on Tuesday has drawn criticism for failing to recognize the Blackout Tuesday, which asked businesses to pause for the day to protest racism and police brutality.
"Different businesses, there’s different ways of supporting the movement and for me, unfortunately, it wasn’t right on that Tuesday and I, of course, regret that," Loom and Magpie owner Jeremy Chai.
"You didn’t post something that everyone is posting that day, doesn’t mean you are against them, some people have a different way of helping."
Loom and Magpie received a one-star review from an individual on Google, which stated, "Pretty disgusting with a platform of your size, that you choose to post shoes and bags on a day that the rest of the world was using to educate others."
The consignment store responded with its own disappointment.
"I’m Asian myself and I’ve experienced racism in the past, I think the best way to move forward is to actually do more than just post a black screen," Chai said.
Alec Couros, a professor of educational technology media at the University of Regina, says businesses need to find a delicate balance when it comes to social media trends around political and social movements.
"I think businesses certainly try to be apolitical or stay away from movements because they feel that there are going to be some of their customer base that does have beliefs that are perhaps incompatible with the business’s beliefs," Couros said.
"If you knew about this movement, it’s not a bad idea to just pause and not be your regular social media persona that particular day."
Chai and the staff at Loom and Magpie say they have learned from this experience that staying silent when you support a movement isn’t the most effective to enact the change that you want to see.
"I tend to overthink, same as my staff, we had a discussion about this before Tuesday about what we should be doing, but it was too much overthinking, we should have just followed what other people are doing and then later come up with a better way to help society," Chai said.