A New Zealand sign company has been accused of transphobia over a Christmas billboard featuring a picture of Caitlyn Jenner.
Cranium Signs put up the billboard in Auckland earlier this week and posted a picture of the sign to their Facebook page.
“I hope your sack is fuller than mine this Christmas,” the billboard says, next to a picture of Jenner from her Vanity Fair photo shoot with a Santa hat photoshopped onto her head.
The billboard immediately attracted the ire of the transgender community, and complaints flooded the company’s Facebook page.
An LGBT support group also complained to the company’s director, calling the sign “tasteless, crass, insulting and vile”.
In response to the email, Cranium’s director, Phillip Garratt, said the sign hadn’t been intended to offend.
“We live in a world with difference and I no way discriminate against anyone,” he wrote.
“I have gay and transgender friends. I think you may need to take a look at yourself and relax a bit and not take life so seriously. I was referring to a santa sack your sick mind is the problem.”
The sign has now been taken down, and the company has donated $1000 to a transgender support group in an effort to make amends.
Rebecca Jones, the mother of a 9-year-old transgender boy, suggested that the company make the donation.
“Rebecca, thank you for your suggestion of a donation to Rainbow Youth. We have done this. We are genuinely sorry for the offence we have caused to you and the wider community,” the company posted on its Facebook page.
The decision was welcomed by online commenters.
“Liked your other signs, the one you took down was not as well thought out. Transgender issues are up there with terminal illness, the holocaust and a few other horrible things you just don’t make jokes about. It effects people too deeply to make fun of. Glad you took it down,” wrote one.
Others have begun leaving one star reviews on Cranium’s page, unhappy with the way the company handled the incident.
“Shameful behaviour from a kiwi company and an even worse ‘apology’ – I will be making sure to never use your company for anything in future, business or personal. I suggest you all engage in some office education on trans and discrimination issues in NZ and consider issuing a genuine apology statement,” Lauren McGee wrote.
The Facebook post with the picture of the billboard on it has since been deleted.