Facebook/Gay Waltrip Donnell
Lululemon Athletica is in hot water after one of its Dallas stores posted a sign appearing to mock a charity that helps battered women.
"We do partners yoga, not partners card," the sign read, referring to the Family Place charity's "Partners Card," which costs $70 and offers deep discounts at 750 area stores — not including Lululemon — to help raise money for womens' shelters. The website CultureMap Dallas first reported on the controversy.
Paige Flink, executive director of the charity, said she was offended by the sign at the store in Dallas' NorthPark Center because she felt it was mocking the charity. She personally asked the store to remove it and management told her the store might remove it by Monday.
"Partners Card is the biggest fundraiser we do with the Family Place and I felt like that sign was putting down this important work," she told Business Insider.
In the meantime, d ozens of outraged customers and Family Place volunteers took to the company's Facebook page to criticize the sign.
"I will never spend a dime or set foot in a Lululemon Athletica store again," wrote Suzanne Franks Holzwanger. "Poor, poor choice of actions in a market like Dallas where the Family Place is essential to our hurting families."
Suzanne De Silva wrote: "It's deplorable and disgusting that you think it's acceptable to poke fun and make a mockery at a charity (www.familyplace.org) that helps women (reminder:your main demographic) that are the victims of domestic violence through the Partners Card program. Where are your manners? You're definitely not a brand that I want to be associated with anymore."
By Monday afternoon, Flink got a call from the store manager and they met in person on Tuesday, where the manager apologized profusely for the sign and said the store never intended to offend anyone. The store has since removed the sign and responded to customers on its Facebook page.
"We are truly sorry for the window display over the weekend. Even though it was not our intention to offend anyone, that is in fact what happened," the store wrote. "We have the utmost respect for the important work that The Family Place does in domestic violence prevention and never intended to suggest otherwise."
To make amends, the store offered to provide free yoga to staff of the Family Place.
Lululemon corporate has also responded to the controversy on its Facebook page.
"We understand how important our community is and are sorry that we let you down. We never intended to disrespect," the company wrote. "We're in conversation with The Family Place about how we can best be there for this wonderful organization."
Lululemon has not responded to a request for comment on this story.
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