Lids clarifies policy after Gatineau man told he couldn't get 'Black Lives Matter' embroidered on hat
OTTAWA -- A Gatineau man says he won't be going back to an Ottawa store for a custom "Black Lives Matter" hat, even after the company cleared up why he was first turned away.
Vincent Obiang said he went to Lids athletic wear shop at Tanger Outlets on June 5 to get "Black Lives Matter" embroidered on a hat but they wouldn’t do it.
"The manager didn’t approve the message," Obiang said.
In an Instagram post, Obiang said he was told the message was "too political."
It was something he found hypocritical.
"I was surprised because of what the company is saying on social media, on their platforms," he said.
The company has been supportive of the movement on Instagram.
Obiang said he wasn’t happy with the response he received from the local manager, so he pushed further, all while gaining traction online.
"I didn’t expect for it to go viral on social media that way, but I felt like I needed to say something."
According to Obiang, Lids told him last week, "It looks like there was miscommunication with some managers, in this situation - this manager."
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Lids writes:
"Lids’ companywide policy on customization includes a strict stipulation around registered trademarks, which are not able to be added to merchandise without written authorization. The store manager at the Tanger Outlets Ottawa location mistakenly attributed this policy to a customer’s request for Black Lives Matter,"
They also explain that they have clarified the policy with the local manager and will now embroider the message.
"Lids welcomes all customers who are interested in a Black Lives Matter customization on their items."
Obiang says he doesn't buy the explanation. He thinks something else is going on and he won't be going back back, but he thinks all of this has created some more awareness for the movement.
"If we stay silent, things will never change," he said.