The always colourful, sometimes cast iron cookware might be big in certain circles, but thanks to the obvious lack of diversity at its media events, Le Creuset has made it clear which of those circles it prefers.
And you would expect more from a company owned by a South African. Honestly.
The trouble began when, earlier this week, food blogger Aisha Baker posted correspondence between the company’s PR and her friend, who is a big Le Creuset fan, reports HuffPost:
The friend had queried Le Creuset on the lack of diversity at their events. To which a social media representative replied, “… our selection of media and bloggers who are invited are based on existing relationships built over many years and few new influencers. We do not look at racial diversity.”
“I was quite surprised at the response, I assumed they would have sent her a generic message saying they will consider her suggestion for the next event, but they kind of dismissed her feelings,” said Baker.
“I could tell she was offended by the way the account responded to her, making her seem as if she doesn’t really have a clue about their marketing goals,” she adds.
Taking the discussion to Twitter, the tweet below got a whole lot more traction than she expected:
disappointed in Le Creuset’s SA Marketing peeps for this reply, I got sent this discussion between them and a customer. What do you guys think? No excuses for lack of diversity in this day and age in my opinion… pic.twitter.com/uwsBvif5XC
— Aisha Baker (@bakedonline) March 21, 2018
Eish – and a selection of agreeable replies:
What do you have to say about that? Of course, Le Creuset attempted an apology:
Still struck by the “owned by a South African” fact? I was too.
Apparently, the sole owner is Durbanite Paul Van Zuydam [above]. So, perhaps the race issue isn’t so surprising then? Oh dear.
Here’s what we know:
Originally an accountant, he became a consultant for EFI Products, a struggling bakeware manufacturer in KwaZulu-Natal.
He eventually bought EFI, which was then acquired by the American group Prestige.
In the 1980s, the owner of Prestige wanted to acquire the French company Le Creuset. The deal fell through, and Van Zuydam asked whether he could bid for Le Creuset himself, according to an account in The Telegraph newspaper. He bought the company in 1988, and since 1996 owned 100% of it.
Van Zuydam is based in Lugano, Switzerland, which is also where the Le Creuset headquarters are.
And there you have it.
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