The #MeToo campaign has dominated social media these past few months, and rightfully so. It’s a way for women to digitally stand beside one another and share these all too familiar stories of sexual assault. And while the campaign itself isn’t new (according to The New York Times, its creator, Tarana Burke, first came to realize the importance of ‘me too’ in 1997), it has grown to new heights since Alyssa Milano’s tweet on October 15.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
The #MeToo campaign has become a lot of things to a lot of people. One thing it isn’t, however, is a slogan for a beauty brand to hawk its products with. That’s probably why people are losing it over over cosmetics company Hard Candy’s request to trademark “#MeToo,” which was filed on October 20, just five days after Milano’s initial tweet.
Jerome Falic, who is the CEO of Falic Fashion Group, Hard Candy’s parent company, told Bustle that his company had 100 per cent good intentions of donating 100 per cent of the profits that would be derived from owning #MeToo once it was trademarked. But no one–NO ONE–was buying it.
PSA: hard candy, the makeup brand, is trying to trademark #metoo so they can commercialize and make money off it
— camryn (@camrynbartels) January 18, 2018
Dear @HardCandyLife you cannot have #MeToo
That’s bullshit marketing. Stop it. Not to mention your products are only sold at WalMart, at least in the US. Not the most worker or woman friendly business.
No. Just no. You can do better.
— Green Hellion (@GreenHellion) January 17, 2018
— Tom Spencer (@TPSpencer88) January 17, 2018
Based on reactions like these and what Falic calls “several public responses,” the company withdrew its request to trademark #MeToo. If you try to visit the American Trademark Electronic Search System, the link to Hard Candy’s initial application takes you to a page that no longer exists, and simply says, “This search session has expired.” Good riddance!
“When the trademark application for #metoo was filed, one of our objectives was to bring greater awareness to this important and long overdue movement,” Falic said.
Unfortunately, a cosmetics company (with business objectives to sell X number of nail polish bottles per year) that is attempting to take ownership of an inclusive campaign, which sheds light on assault against women, probably isn’t the smartest way to continue to “bring greater awareness.”
“As a brand devoted to women since its inception, Hard Candy has and will continue to support women’s rights. Hard Candy has always quietly and proudly supported a non-profit organization that directly contributes to many women’s causes,” Falic said. “We will continue to support the work of this watershed movement and other causes that respect the dignity of women and all people.”
Good for them for issuing this statement, but surely this could’ve been avoided altogether. There’s likely more than one employee over at Hard Candy, shaking their head and mumbling, “I told you so.”