Florida-based web design company Seasalt and Co. has recently come under fire for the release of a new ad featuring imagery of a noose hanging from a tree. Apparently an advertisement for a new collection of Photoshop actions insensitively dubbed “The Hanging Tree,” the image was quickly removed from the company’s Facebook page when complaints started rolling in.
One of the most vocal protesters of the image was jeweler Rachel Stewar, who pointed out that the image recalled thoughts of the rampant lynchings of African-Americans that occurred in the past. She then asked Seasalt and Co. exactly what the image was supposed to represent for their company. A spokesperson for Seasalt and Co. replied defensively with vague mentions of freedom and injustice.
“It represents this collection. How innocent people are punished for no reason. People being quick to jump to conclusions and hang us with no questions or second thoughts. With its release all details will be revealed. There is deep emotional meaning to this than what one may think just by looking at it,” the company stated in a comment on their Facebook page.
As more people complained about the offensive imagery, Seasalt and Co. posted on their Twitter account to accuse them of slander. Later, they posted a statement on their Facebook page that insisted the imagery was about artists being bullied, and ended with the following:
“If seeing that noose reminds you of things people went through in the past and even present, then you understand that people were hung [sic] for nothing other than hate! We are tired of hate, but we are also moving on and not letting hateful souls ruin our being.”
“The best way to fix this is to have never done it in the first place. Always think carefully before you post. Social media has made communication instant, leaving little room for questionable content. Seasalt’s idea was obviously flawed,” explained Don Keller, owner at Catalpha Advertising and Design. “Once the complaints starting rolling in, they should have quickly apologized, instead of trying to defend it. Perhaps performing some type of charitable act(s) can help improve their online reputation? Just remember, trust is easily broken and very hard to regain.”
Seasalt and Co. is currently threatening legal action via a post on Twitter, stating
“For those whom [sic] are having issues with our not yet released collection. It may be in great interest for you to get in contact [with] our legal team at LEGAL@SEASALT-CO.COM.”