AUSTIN (KXAN) — Following racially insensitive comments made last week by the namesake of its advertising and public relations school, officials with the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication responded to faculty and student concerns Thursday.
Stan Richards, head of the Dallas-based advertising agency The Richards Group and whom UT’s advertising and PR school is named after, was reported by AdAge and the New York Times saying a Motel 6 ad idea was “too Black,” and the ad might offend Motel 6’s “white supremacist constituents” during a recent meeting.
A spokesperson for the firm confirmed the comments to the New York Times, and said that the 87-year-old Richards meant to convey the idea was “not multiculturally inclusive enough.”
That not only caused Hotel 6, Home Depot and Keurig Dr. Pepper to cut ties with the firm, but it also sent shockwaves through the UT school and left faculty and students demanding an apology.
Jay Bernhardt, the dean of the Moody College of Communication, along with the director of UT’s advertising school JoAnn Sciarrino, issued a joint statement to the college’s faculty and students that admonished Richards’ comments and included a recorded apology from Richards himself.
“I’m deeply ashamed to have not lived up to my own philosophy,” Richards said in the video. “I made a mistake — the biggest mistake of my life.”
“Through my inappropriate words, I caused pain and anger to the people who I respect and care about,” he said.
You can watch the entire video below:
The UT letter firmly condemns Richards’ comments, and said the university will “continue to gather information and engage our community, internally and externally, to inform our path forward.”
“We continue to listen to the voices who have shared their disappointment and outrage at the racially intolerant and bigoted remarks recently spoken by Stan Richards, for whom our School of Advertising and Public Relations is named,” the letter stated.
“We remain firmly committed to building and sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Moody College, and we sincerely hope that the learning from this incident can be used to help us accelerate our progress toward those goals,” the letter continued.
The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, known for Shiner beer, announced Tuesday, Oct. 20 that it is no longer working with The Richards Group on advertising because of Richards’ comments.
The brewery released a statement to KXAN Tuesday:
“The Spoetzl Brewery values diversity, equality, and inclusion, and we expect all of our employees
and partners to share in these values,” the statement read. “For this reason, the decision has been made to end our partnership with The Richards Group effective immediately.”