Executive Briefings

Tarnished by Charlottesville, Tiki Torch Company Tries to Move On

As the images streamed out of Charlottesville, Va., this month showing white nationalists protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, many could not help noticing the product illuminating the faces twisted into sneers of hate: Tiki torches.

Tarnished by Charlottesville, Tiki Torch Company Tries to Move On

Those innocuous bamboo beacons, produced by Tiki Brand, a 60-year-old company, and known primarily for their presence at family barbecues, poolside cabanas, lush resort grounds and Pacific-island themed restaurants, were now lighting the way for racists.

Tiki, which is owned by the Wisconsin-based Lamplight Farms, denounced the white nationalists in a Facebook post on Aug. 12. “We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way,” it said. “Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”

Mark Werner, vice president of marketing at Lamplight Farms, issued an addendum to the statement that read: “The feedback that we have received from the public regarding our earlier statement has been very positive. We will continue to reinforce that Tiki Brand products are to be enjoyed by friends and family outdoors in a loving environment.”

A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment further.

Still, marketing specialists and risk management consultants predicted that it would be difficult for Tiki to move past the perception that it had been embraced by racist organizations.

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Those innocuous bamboo beacons, produced by Tiki Brand, a 60-year-old company, and known primarily for their presence at family barbecues, poolside cabanas, lush resort grounds and Pacific-island themed restaurants, were now lighting the way for racists.

Tiki, which is owned by the Wisconsin-based Lamplight Farms, denounced the white nationalists in a Facebook post on Aug. 12. “We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way,” it said. “Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”

Mark Werner, vice president of marketing at Lamplight Farms, issued an addendum to the statement that read: “The feedback that we have received from the public regarding our earlier statement has been very positive. We will continue to reinforce that Tiki Brand products are to be enjoyed by friends and family outdoors in a loving environment.”

A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment further.

Still, marketing specialists and risk management consultants predicted that it would be difficult for Tiki to move past the perception that it had been embraced by racist organizations.

Read Full Article

Tarnished by Charlottesville, Tiki Torch Company Tries to Move On