Two pairs of shoes sold by Groupon have raised eyebrows on social media—not for the incredible deals, but for the use of a racial slur.
A pair of “Women’s Fringed Suede Moccasin Boots” were listed for $52.99 on the e-commerce site, with one of the four color choices being: “N*gger-Brown.” Another pair, described as “Womens Mens Suede Leather Fur Lining Winter Boots” and priced at $89 dollars, also had that color option as one of the three selections.
Both Groupon pages have since been taken down, but Google caches indicate they were available online as recent as this month. The fringed moccasin pair was last cached on February 20, while the fur-lined ones were cached on March 19.
“We are appalled that this language was displayed on our site. This product description was provided by a third-party seller via our self-service platform. Regardless, this is completely unacceptable and violates our policies—to say nothing of our values,” Groupon told The Daily Beast in a statement. “When made aware of the issue, we immediately removed the deal—as well as the third-party seller—from our marketplace. Language like this has no place on Groupon, and we're further strengthening our self-service controls to ensure it doesn't happen again.”
The third-party seller behind the fringed boot seems to no longer have any items available on Groupon. Xularo, which listed the fur-lined boots, previously sold everything from men’s shoes and wallets to iPhone cases and sweaters on the site. A statement from Groupon said the store “does not have any active listings on our site. We kicked them out of our marketplace for violating our policies–and our values.”
This isn’t the first time a major retailer has been caught using the racial slur to describe an item’s color.
Last year, Walmart generated outrage for using “N*gger-Brown” as a color description on a weave cap on their website. The retail giant changed the color description a few hours later, and issued a statement saying it was “a clear violation of our policy and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.”
The company owner who made the weave cap told the New York Daily News that she believed her products were being sold “through a fake vendor” and there was "nothing [she] can do about” sellers on eCommerce platforms advertising copies of her product.