Boston, MA– TD Bank recently displayed an advertisement inside their Back Bay branch which said, “When you’re Downtown, but your debit card’s somewhere in Dorchester.” Boston.com reports that TD Bank has since issued an apology for the ad which clearly plays into stereotypes about residents of Dorchester.
Reilly Hay, a resident of Somerville, visited the Back Bay location on Wednesday to close his account when he saw the advertisement on his way out of the bank. Hay immediately posted a photo of the ad on Twitter where he called out TD Bank for the racist undertones of the message.
Hay said on Twitter: “If you know Boston stereotypes, you know that lost in Dorchester is code for stolen. Which sucks, because to get stolen from Dorchester you need to go through the concepts of low-income and, most importantly, black and brown.”
While some Twitter commenters argued that the ad was not racist, many agreed with Hay's assessment and called on TD Bank to “be better.”
Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, whose district includes Dorchester, told officials, “This is sadly not the first time we’ve seen ads like this appear in Boston, and it makes me wonder how diverse their leadership is and what they’re going to do to change that?”
Boston Mayor Mary Walsh stated that the advertisement was insulting to him and other former and current residents of Dorchester. Walsh said stated that the ad “insulted a third of the city…And I think it’s disrespectful to Dorchester and Boston quite honestly and all the people there.” Walsh commented before learning of TD Bank’s apology.
After the reaction of Boston residents on social media, TD Bank removed the advertisement from their lobby on Thursday. According to officials at the bank, this was the only location where the advertisement was posted.
The bank released a statement yesterday which read in part: “We are sorry that an ad that appeared in one of our stores was insensitive to the Dorchester community. The ad, which was removed today, does not reflect our core values around diversity and inclusion.”
Image via Flickr by Mike Mozart