BOSTON: Text100 is providing Vistaprint with crisis PR support as the customizable printing platform faces a lawsuit for sending a gay couple pamphlets "equating their relationship to Satan’s temptation," instead of the wedding programs they ordered.
Text100 had been working with Vistaprint and parent company Cimpress on a project basis, but crisis support was added to the firm’s remit after the incident, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
The suit was filed by Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg, who discovered on the day before their wedding that instead of the programs they had ordered for their ceremony, Vistaprint sent them 80 copies of a pamphlet they said contained "hateful, discriminatory, and anti-gay messages."
Vistaprint learned about the incident on January 16, when Heasley and Borg filed a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts. They allege the religious pamphlets, entitled "Understanding Temptation" from a campaign called Battle Ready, were "plainly sent to threaten and attack [them] because they are gay.’"
The couple is suing Vistaprint for discrimination based on sexual orientation and breaching a contract for not delivering the wedding programs. They are seeking an unspecified amount for "economic damages, mental anguish, and emotional distress."
On the morning of January 17, Vistaprint CEO Trynka Shineman and Cimpress CEO and Vistaprint founder Robert Keane published a response on the company’s website.
Their statement explained that Vistaprint supports diversity and rejects discrimination "in all forms." It outlined the steps the company is taking to respond to the incident.
Shineman and Keane also revealed in the statement that the religious pamphlets that were "intended to be printed for one customer were incorrectly sent to this couple by a third-party fulfiller. We, and our partner, are committed to understanding how and why this happened. If we determine that any individual played a deliberate role in this mix up, we will take strong action."
Shineman and Keane added that they have communicated with all Vistaprint employees to reaffirm their commitment to equality and diversity for all customers and employees. They are contemplating how to use Vistaprint’s global brand platform to share a message of support for same sex marriage and equality.
The company has also reached out to Heasley and Borg to "express our sadness that this incident occurred, and disappointment that this in any way diminished the joy of their wedding day memories," according to the statement. Shineman and Keane want to establish a dialogue with the couple so they can use the incident to highlight LGBTQ issues.
Vistaprint tweeted a link to its statement on Wednesday.
We are extremely saddened by the incident described in recent news articles about Vistaprint. We support diversity and reject discrimination in all forms. You can find our full response here: https://t.co/gNgj2m6hjy— Vistaprint (@Vistaprint) January 17, 2018
The company has also been responding to outraged customers on Twitter.
Missy - we take full ownership of what happened and will follow up with strong action. We do not stand for discrimination in any form and are proud to serve all of our customers! Please check here for updates as we learn more: https://t.co/2Z3O4c9HKy— Vistaprint (@Vistaprint) January 19, 2018
We're sorry to hear that. Honestly, we share your outrage. This is not who we are as a brand. We will not tolerate any discrimination, and we will get to the bottom of this. Please check back here for updates: https://t.co/GkhoC4pXjg— Vistaprint (@Vistaprint) January 19, 2018
Vistaprint and Text100 representatives declined to comment on the matter.