Students of Georgetown, Inc. storefront Hoya Snaxa has been under fire after a photo showing signs that read “rust under your unused vagina” and “remnants of Bruce Jenner’s peen” on its slushie machines were shared on social media May 7.
Reuben Atkins (COL ’16) first saw the signs early morning Saturday, then posted a photo on Facebook, describing the signs as “blatant transphobia” and “absolutely disgusting.”
“When I saw it, before we even got into the part of it that was oppressive and transphobic, it was just like, ‘This is so unprofessional,’” Atkins said. “Who thought this was a good idea, and why is this an advertising technique to sell their slushies?”
According to Atkins, no employees or customers raised concerns about the sign until he posted the photo, which has been shared 13 times.
“Everyone who walked in there, or at least most people, had to have seen it,” Atkins said. “It’s a little bit shocking that not only did that employee put it up but the other employees working with them thought it was ok and also the rest of the Georgetown community that walked through those doors saw it and didn’t say anything.”
Later that day, Director of Hoya Snaxa Michael Saxon (MSB ’18) sent an email to Atkins informing him that the signs have been removed, and that the employee who put them up will be held accountable. Saxon posted a photo of the email on Facebook.
CEO of The Corp Taylor Tobin (COL ’17) said the action did not align with The Corp’s values.
“The Corp strives to provide a safe and inclusive environment in our storefronts for all students and community members of Georgetown that is free from discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ability, ethnicity or religion,” Tobin wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Recently, an employee acted in a way that was out of alignment with our company’s core values. We would like to apologize to the Georgetown community and we are taking every step to assure this incident is appropriately addressed.”
The Corp has not publicly announced the actions it is undertaking to address the incident as of press time. Saxon and three other Hoya Snaxa employees declined to comment for this article.
K Mee (COL ’17), who posted Atkins’ photo to The Corp’s Facebook page, said the signs were triggering.
“I wonder how long they were up for. It could be triggering for survivors of sexual violence. It takes away the choice for people who identify as asexual to not have sex by judging them for their rust or whatever, and obsessing over the transition of trans people versus recognizing that they face a lot of systemic issues,” Mee said.
Mee said it is important to understand the underlying causes that led to the incident.
“For me it’s not really about the individual, whoever did it. It’s more that I don’t know what kind of culture The Corp is cultivating to first be transphobic and offensive and then being unprofessional,” Mee said. “I would be interested in learning about their internal affairs and how they deal with cultural competency within their employees.”
Atkins said The Corp should use the incident to start a larger dialogue on educating its employees about diversity.
“I don’t even think the bare minimum is taking down the sign. I think that’s below the bare minimum,” Atkins said. “I’d like to see them make some sort of effort to talk about diversity, to have their employees understand what’s appropriate, what’s not. I’d prefer The Corp to engage in something that educates as opposed to hiding the oppressive ideology these people hold.”
Hoya Staff Writer William Zhu contributed reporting.