Graphic design firm defends ‘hanging tree’ ad

When Twitter critics called the company out for evoking a history of race-related violence, it threatened legal action.

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Here’s a lesson in how not to handle criticism. The graphic design company Seasalt & Co. released an offensive ad, doubled down on it with some harsh vitriol, and then backed off.

It all started when the company wanted to promote its latest release of Photoshop tools. Perhaps in an effort to be bold and evocative, its ad featured a black and white image of a noose hanging from a tree in a fog-laden forest. Accompanied with the copy “The Hanging Tree,” it seemed like a not-so-veiled reference to lynching.

When the company started seeing criticism, instead of apologizing and removing the ad, it threatened legal action. Check out the exchange below:

@seasaltcompany thinks using a “hanging tree” with a noose to advertise isn’t about race #happyblackhistorymonth

— Rachel Stewart (@RStewartJewelry) February 16, 2015

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