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Motel 6, Home Depot drop ad agency over "too Black" comment

Christian Cooper's comic book on racism
Christian Cooper's comic book on racism 08:04

The Richards Group — the nation's largest independent advertising agency — has lost Motel 6 as a client after its founder reportedly labeled an ad pitch as "too Black" for the lodging chain's "white supremacist constituents."

Carrolton, Texas-based Motel 6 terminated its relationship with Richards Group, effective immediately, after learning of comments attributed to the ad agency's founder, Stan Richards. "We are outraged by the statements made about Motel 6 and our customers by a member of the Richards Group during one of its internal meetings," a spokesperson for Motel 6 emailed CBS MoneyWatch.

First reported by Ad Age, an industry trade publication, Richards' controversial remarks came after employees at the ad agency had pitched an idea celebrating Black artists. The Dallas Morning News also received an anonymous account of the meeting, attended by about 40 Richards Group employees. Motel 6 did not participate in the internal ad-company gathering last week.

"The comments are not only completely inaccurate, they are also in direct opposition of our values and beliefs as an organization," stated the spokesperson for Motel 6, which operates more than 1,400 budget hotel properties in the United States and Canada.

Richards Group contacted Motel 6 to advise it of the situation Monday, and Motel 6 fired Richards Group the same day. Ad Age published the Motel 6 story on Tuesday evening. 

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Another client, Home Depot, joined Motel 6 in parting company with Richards Group. 

"We do not tolerate discrimination in any form, so we were shocked and saddened when we learned of this incident. We have immediately begun the process of finding a new advertising agency," a spokesperson for the home-improvement retailer emailed.

Richards Group apologized for the incident, with Glenn Dady, the company's principal and creative director, stating in an email: "We understand and regret the pain and concerns of all those who were deeply troubled by the words our founder spoke. He can't take them back. We can only ask for forgiveness and promise to learn and be better. We ask our many friends for understanding and prayers as we move forward." 

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