Lids at the Tanger Outlets in Ottawa is facing backlash after the store manager refused to customize a hat with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
Vincent Obiang told CBC News that he tried to get the baseball cap embroidered with the slogan ahead of the No Peace Until Justice march against police brutality that was held on June 5 in downtown Ottawa.
He said when he returned to pick up the hat, the store manager told him the order couldn’t be done because the message was “too political,” and gave him a refund. The Gatineau resident says he also could not find any policy on the company’s website to that effect.
When he followed up with the store manager the next day, she informed him that it was her personal decision. “These are the kinds of things that we want to fight. We want to be able to change that mentality” Obiang told CBC News, adding, “That’s why I didn’t want to let it go. I was angry.”
In response, Lids claimed there was “some confusion over the copyright status of BLM or Black Lives Matter” and the manager mistakenly thought it was a registered trademark.
Hi there! There was some confusion of over the copyright status of BLM or Black Lives Matter. After researching the situation, we are able to customize those for anyone looking to have that done. This communication has been sent out to our stores. Thanks for letting us know!
— LIDS (@lids) June 9, 2020
The company said it had “a strict stipulation around registered trademarks,” which required “written authorization,” and the manager made an “error.” According to CBC News, the BLM slogan is not trademarked in Canada or the US.
Lids says they’ve since “clarified” the policy with all of its stores.