The Art of the Non-Apology Part 2

by Angela

So I talked here about Fluid’s limp apology but I didn’t discuss this part of their response:

…we will be actively setting up partnerships to generate donations with appropriate organizations in this community.  That is a promise.

followed by apologizing to anyone who interpreted their ad to make light of domestic violence and then:

To the rest of you who this has so deeply affected, we truly hope you do something to help stop domestic violence. Truly honor the survivors that you are standing up for. Unfortunately boycotting a hair salon will not accomplish this. (Emphasis mine).

Donating some of the money generated from this ad to shelters in order to deal with the negative publicity is kind of a weaselly move. These organizations usually need money and can’t afford to turn down donations. At the same time, it’s awkward for them to accept donations that come from another organization who is making light of the very real social problem that they’re trying to prevent.  Unfortunately, this is an all too common response. Fluid’s attempt to throw money at the problem is just a way to effectively erase their complicity in it and pat themselves on the back for doing what appears to be the right thing.

What makes this particular response by Fluid extra-insulting is that their self-interestedness is so transparent it would be nearly impossible to mistake the apology for being a sincere one. They can’t even withhold their sales pitch for the length of it. When they tell everyone who has complained about this ad that we should “truly honour the survivors that [we] are standing up for” it comes across as the shaming tactic it is. Following it with “boycotting a hair salon will not accomplish this” sends the implicit message that we should all be lining up to get a haircut from Fluid because otherwise we’re not honouring the people we’re standing up for.

It’s no surprise that Fluid thinks the best way to honour survivors of abuse is to donate money (especially if you can do it at their hair salon). What they don’t seem to realize is, for a lot of us who don’t have money, drawing attention to and calling out businesses that try to glamourize domestic violence is one of the ways that we can contribute.