LuLaRoe: Long on Tights, Short on Values

Last month, LuLaRoe "consultants" Taya and Robert Budenbender hosted a live broadcast LuLaRoe sales party. After some technical difficulties, Mr. Budenbender decided to lighten the moment by pretending to be retarded. He adopts the quintessential slow, shouting voice, and proclaims, "My name is Robert and I'm special! My name is Robert and I'm really special!" Meanwhile, a woman in the background (presumably Taya Budenbender) cackles as if this is the funniest thing since Gallagher smashed a watermelon. 

You can find the video on YouTube if you like. I won't post a link to it. 

In the half-assed "apology" video later that day, the Budenbender's trot out a relative with Down Syndrome to use as a prop, and Mr. Budenbender quickly zeroes in on the problem: apparently this whole mess was caused by people who chose to share the video in places where "not nice people" and "people who get offended" hang out. Worse, all these mean people sent poor Bobby Budenbender mean messages, after they took his actions out of context!

Whatever. His "apology" just gets worse from there, including a repetition of the "this should have just stayed in the family" theme.

 My daughter, Kelsey, in the last LuLaRoe tights we'll ever buy.

My daughter, Kelsey, in the last LuLaRoe tights we'll ever buy.

It gets worse. LuLaRoe's response is full of non-committal, unapologetic themes as well. It stresses that the retailers are independent, that Budenbender has "agreed to use the incident as a learning experience," and that LuLaRoe is going to "redouble" their sensitivity and tolerance training and policies. (Anyone know what you get when you double zero?) The sum total of LuLaRoe's response is one weak statement to distance themselves from the problem, without losing the income generated by the BudenBenders.

Every company touts its core values, whether packaging them as a mission to the public, treatment of their employees, contribution to the environment, whatever. And just like individual people, companies are often quite happy to use those "values" as lip-service PR tools, rather than living guidance.

Ironically, you can see LuLaRoe's application of values in part of their statement: "...joined with our commitment not to fight intolerance with eradication..." Apparently LuLaRoe is worried about "eradicating" the Budenbender's business -- i.e., LuLaRoe's profit. 

I'd prefer to eradicate people's apparent belief that making fun of the retarded is acceptable.

One more thing, DeAnne and Mark Stidham! Your statement references "tolerance," or touting your great commitment to "fighting intolerance." Let me explain something to you: decent people don't "tolerate" those with special needs. We love them and care for them, because (wait for it, shocking revelation to come) they're people. No toleration is required.

For a more appropriate example of toleration, we'll just note that people are still buying your tights and dresses, and some are probably still buying from the Budenbenders. I guess there'll always be customers willing to tolerate hateful, disgusting "consultants" and the greedy companies who employ them.