ISSUES & CASES

TALDF TAKES ACTION AGAINST OFFENSIVELY-NAMED PRODUCT
NEWELL RUBBERMAID INC. AGREES TO STOP USING ANTI-TURKISH TERMINOLOGY

Washington, DC, June 4, 2009 - Alerted by a Turkish American that distributors of Rubbermaid Commercial Products were selling an item called a "Turk's Head Toilet Bowl Brush," on April 7 the TALDF contacted the manufacturer, Newell Rubbermaid Inc., protesting the product name and calling for it's use to cease. In our letter, linked below, we noted that such a product name, "evokes an image highly unflattering to any person who may consider him or herself a Turk. The slur is not subtle: a toilet bowl brush being named after any race or ethnicity ought to be considered insulting." We added that such terminology is not only, "infuriating and hurtful to Turkish Americans," it also "encourages ethnic prejudices and bigotries that ill-serve our diverse and democratic society."

Two weeks later, Newell Rubbermaid responded, largely agreeing with the TALDF's position and vowing to make amends. It pledged to, "educate [its] marketing and sales associates of the potential derogatory connotations associated with the terminology...." The TALDF commends Newell Rubbermaid for its quick and sensible response. The TALDF, acknowledging that the complete cessation of this term will not occur overnight, will follow up with the company periodically to judge whether its efforts have been sincere and result in the the withdrawal of the insulting term.

 

 
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Turkish American Legal Defense Fund - TALDF
1510 H St. NW Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-370-1399 ext.13, Fax: 202-370-1398