Just days after makeup retailer Sephora pulled a lipstick from its shelves because of its name
, “Celebutard,” Burt’s Bees began feeling similar pressure over the wording of one of its product labels.
“Soak in the moisturizing seductiveness of shea butter and indulge in the scent of vanilla and rice milk. And let the catcalling commence,” read the label on the company’s Güd Vanilla Flame Body Butter.
Anti-street-harassment organization Hollaback began a petition on Change.org
calling on Burt’s Bees to “stop production of products that legitimize street harassment.” More than 2,000 people signed the petition, many leaving comments such as: “I've been catcalled, and it isn't a compliment. It's demeaning, degrading, and scary.”
Many of the comments noted Burt’s Bees’ reputation as a company that doesn’t test products on animals and otherwise characterizes itself as “Earth friendly,” which seemed to exacerbate shoppers’ frustrations, given their belief the brand was otherwise a good actor.
Burt’s Bees issued this apology on the sub-brand Güd’s Facebook page:
We would like to address a topic that has recently caused concern for many of you. First, we apologize if the wording on our Vanilla Flame Body Butter packaging offended anyone.
Güd, from Burt’s Bees, in no way encourages gender-based harassment and the objectification of women. Güd is a brand built on positivity. Our products are designed to make women feel good on the inside and out. We want women everywhere to be able to enjoy amazing smelling natural personal care products that will leave them smiling, not attracting undesirable and disrespectful attention. This product will only be on shelves while supplies last.
As is often the case with corporate apologies on Facebook, there was a range of responses. Some commenters dismissed the controversy over the label entirely, while others took umbrage at the “if anyone was offended” wording.
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Hollaback found itself in a bit of a tough spot itself over its petition. The New York Observer
noted that the petition originally demanded a donation from Burt’s Bees. The organization changed the petition to remove that request.