Optus’ social media team have today been responding to mixed reactions over their perfectly normal Arabic signage in Sydney’s Merrylands Shopping Centre. Turns out they grossly overestimated the intelligence and open-mindedness of the local community who have since taken to Facebook to fling a shit-tonne of hate at the company.
But the social media team at Optus have taken it all in their stride, using it as an opportunity to passive-aggressively educate people on multiculturalism and some geography 101. Literally, things were so bad that they needed to explain that Islam is not a country but in fact a religion.
Here’s the poster in question:
Luckily, many people came into bat for diversity, posting messages of support to the Facebook page and encouraging Optus take further steps towards improving communication with local ESL customers.
Unfortunately things escalated when physical threats were allegedly made against staff at the store, forcing Optus to remove the signs. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Optus said:
“Optus’ customers and staff come from a range of backgrounds and speak many different languages. In some communities we actively promote the bi-lingual skills of our front line staff.”
Optus remains committed to minimising and eliminating discrimination through our corporate culture, marketing activities, employment practices and interactions with the community.”
As perfectly summarised in Optus’ responses, some of the ‘hate’ is completely baffling. Did you not watch Waleed Aly’s inspiring speech on The Project last night about creating divide (over 15 million Facebook users have to date)? What the actual fuck!
Read the ridiculous comments below and some of the inspiring responses from Optus, who are today’s internet victors.
Fortunately some faith in humanity has been restored with hundreds of people posting praise to the page.
Job well done on using signs in different languages. I think it’s a brilliant idea and it must be so heartwarming for…