A Vancouver-based sales agency shared screenshots of racist messages over the weekend that its owners say they received from Vancouver Candle Co. employees, prompting the candle-maker to issue an apology.
In the screenshots shared by Warner McDaniel Agency, which describes itself as a boutique sales agency for lifestyle and beauty products, one Vancouver Candle Co. employee uses anti-Semitic language and another appears to support using the N-word.
“Racism is real and this is our story,” Warner McDaniel wrote in the caption. “Our business is woman-owned, and owned by a woman of colour. A proud black woman, born and raised in British Columbia. What we are sharing has left us speechless, heartbroken and silent.”
The agency also shared a third message from an unnamed number calling one of Warner McDaniel’s employees the N-word.
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Racism is real and this is our story. Our business is woman-owned, and owned by a woman of colour. A proud black woman, born and raised in British Columbia. What we are sharing has left us speechless, heartbroken and silent. We have struggled with whether or not to share the hateful and discriminatory emails, text and messages from a business that we helped build and treated as family. A business many love too. After months of threats and intimidation we filed a complaint with the Vancouver Police Department. Unfortunately, in today’s digital age, discrimination and abusive behavior can lurk in the shadows and be vailed with seemingly few repercussions. But a revolution is upon us. We chose to share our story not for sympathy. But to shed light on the reality that racism isn’t an American problem limited to police brutality. It is here in our backyards, our inboxes and our business community. In an attempt to support the changing paradigm, we choose to speak up. We choose to move forward with love, unity and respect. We believe that lifting one another up must rise to the forefront of the human experience. But it begins when we are unafraid. Black lives matter. Women’s lives matter. Enough is enough. #blacklivesmatter #blackvancouver #womenslivesmatter #enoughisenough #Harassment #Racism #Bullying #WomanEntrepreneur #BlackWomenEntrepreneur #Vancouver #Newracialparadigm #revolutionNow
On Sunday, Vancouver Candle Co. addressed the allegations in its own Instagram post. It confirmed the messages labelled “Vancouver Candle Co.” and “Nicholas” were sent by their employees in 2017. It said it did not know who sent the message referring to the Warner McDaniel employee as the N-word.
“We are not proud of this type of vulgar language. In context and out of context, this is not appropriate and we are deeply apologetic,” Vancouver Candle Co. wrote. “We apologize to Warner McDaniel and to all those that we have hurt. For that, we are truly sorry.”
The candle company added it severed business ties with Warner McDaniel in 2018 and said the two businesses are involved in “ongoing litigation.”
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Anyone who knows our brand knows that we believe in being honest and transparent, even when it’s uncomfortable to do so. Recent social media posts have caused us to look inward and reflect on words and actions that have offended. We are sorry. We are far from perfect and have said some things in the past that we are not proud of. We apologize to Warner McDaniel and to all those that we have hurt. For that, we are truly sorry. Like many, we have paused all of our typical branded content this week and have been amplifying the voices that matter through our Instagram stories and have taken time to focus on educating ourselves about racism so we can continue to be better. The recent fabrication of words and context is not something we will support or sit in silence. We know that words cut deeply, and past words can be weaponized. There’s many things that the original post by Warner McDaniel Agency does not disclose, most of which, due to ongoing litigation since 2019, we are not able to speak to. We sincerely apologize, and to be open and honest, here is what we can share regarding the original post: – We have not been in communication with Warner McDaniel since we terminated our sales agency relationship in 2018. – We DO NOT know who the numbered message is from. The messages are hateful and wrong on so many levels. Reading these comments makes us sick to our stomach, and we are saddened that anyone would send such messages to another person. We sympathize with Warner McDaniel for receiving such hurtful messages. – The texts named “Vancouver Candle Co.” and “Nicholas” are from us dating back to 2017. We belong to not one, but multiple minority groups that have suffered sustained and systemic discrimination, and we are not proud of this type of vulgar language. In context and out of context, this is not appropriate and we are deeply apologetic. We apologize for any hurtful, inappropriate or racial comments either in context or outside of context and we’ve learned from our mistakes and will continue to educate ourselves and continue learning. (CONTINUED IN COMMENTS…)
Both Instagram posts have well over 1,000 comments, many of them from people saying they will no longer buy Vancouver Candle Co.’s products. Daily Hive has reached out to Warner McDaniel for an interview but has not yet heard back.