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Advertising campaign sparks racist comments online

Offensive social media comments were dealt with quickly by James Purdey & Sons, with the brand taking a “zero tolerance” approach.

Last month James Purdey & Sons, the high-end British gun specialist, posted an image on Facebook as part of a new marketing campaign for their line of outdoor wear, which included a black model. Purdey’s attempt to add diversity to a predominantly white, male-dominated industry should be lauded; however, comments posted on the Facebook image were heavily racially motivated. These comments were promptly deleted.

Leon Challis-Davies, culinary director for the British Game Assurance, told Shooting Times: “It’s a very sorry state of affairs to hear that individuals within the country still hold these views on minorities. This is not banter, this is racism. We need the industry to be aware of these individuals and make them accountable, point them out, report them.

“What I saw was an innovative advert featuring a black man in shooting attire, modelling for Purdey. It’s good to be pushing boundaries and sending a positive message to other country brands that haven’t yet made that step. I still believe that the fieldsports community is an inclusive one but it’s a disgrace that a few individuals bring the sector back to the Stone Age.” Dr Al Gabriel, molecular biologist, BASC council member and advocate for diversity in fieldsports, added: “It is shameful behaviour that does not represent the views of the shooting community. Progress has been made in improving diversity in shooting, but this is further evidence that more needs to be done.

“Brands need to incorporate diversity in their promotional material. Therefore, brands must continue to promote diversity and not be discouraged by the actions of a few.”

Dan Jago, managing director of James Purdey & Sons, told ST: “At Purdey, we have zero tolerance for racism or harassment of any kind and reserve the right to remove comments that do not align with our values and community management guidelines.”