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PR Group ‘Strange Fruit’ Pulled From Social Media Over Name

Always Research Your Company Name

A Texan based PR Company called ‘Strange Fruit’ pulled their social media accounts down and are working on a name change after receiving a huge backlash on social media over their name. They had chosen this name due to its culinary sound and considering that this PR Company caters to restaurants, bars, breweries and chefs they decided that they were onto a winning name. Unfortunately, they hadn't done any research in regards to their new found name.

If you’re unaware, ‘Strange Fruit’ is a famous poem that was first written by Abel Meeropol, a New York based teacher and published in 1937. It is more commonly remembered as a song which was performed by Billie Holiday in 1939.

Meeropol first wrote the poem to protest against racism. Especially the lynching of black people in the Southern States of the US as it was around this time that the number of lynchings peaked. After writing the poem, Meeropol set it to music and, with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York venues throughout the late 30’s. This included a performance at Madison Square Garden.

A photograph published by Lawrence Beitler which shows two men hanging surrounded by a large joyful crowd became a ground mark representation to show the travesty that was happening daily in the South. This also catalyzed Meeropol to write the poem also and this photograph became forever linked with the title: ‘Strange Fruit’.

So now that you know all of that, you can already understand why a PR company based in Texas received such a huge backlash for naming their company after a poem used to protest against racism. Hundreds of tweets began pouring in when the company went live on social media. 

One of the first tweets asked the company: ‘I’d truly like to know the inspiration for this name of yours. You do know what it’s a reference to?’ Another asked: ‘You don't name something ‘Strange Fruit’ in the south without wanting to send a message. You just DON'T.’

Co-owners Ali Slutsky and Mary Mickel commented on the issue and said: ‘We are really sorry for offending people. We’re getting blasted on social media claiming that we’re racist ... It’s not true at all.’

The owners claimed that they knew of the song, but had not done any research into the contents of it or the significance it holds – Especially in regards to the southern states.They also said that it was never their ‘intention to draw any parallels to Abel Meeropol's powerful poem and the song that holds the name.’

This story is in a long line of issues of race circulating across the US in recent months and it seems that the US is struggling to take into account the severity of these issues. When we look at the iconic tragic photo that inspired this poem and realize that it was just over eighty years ago, we should be able to realize that these wounds are still fresh and will still take time to heal.

Regardless, this PR Company has really shown us why it is so important to do your research on your company name before you choose one. Let's wait and see what they decide for their next name. I hope they've learnt a lesson.

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and is currently interning as a content writer hoping to go further. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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PR Group ‘Strange Fruit’ Pulled From Social Media Over Name Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 Rating: 5
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