New York, NY, October 4, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today accepted the apology of Hobby Lobby for the insensitive remarks of a store employee in New Jersey who reportedly told a Jewish patron that the store “does not cater to you people” due to the owner’s Christian values.
In a statement issued yesterday, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green apologized for the alleged remark and indicated that his company has “deep respect for the Jewish faith.” The statement made clear that the owners “do not tolerate discrimination at the company or our stores.”
ADL issued the following statement:
We are satisfied with the apology of Hobby Lobby and appreciate the company’s efforts to investigate the incident and to ensure that it does not happen again. Since the allegations about the employee’s comments first came to light, Hobby Lobby’s representatives have been in direct contact with ADL and have assured us in unequivocal terms that their company has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and that decisions on the merchandise they carry are based on consumer demand, not out of a lack of respect for other faiths.
For many years, concerns have been raised by some in the Jewish community that Hobby Lobby, while stocking Christian merchandise, does not carry Hanukkah items. ADL firmly believes that the religious views of a business owner cannot be a basis to infringe upon the legal rights of others, but a store choosing not to carry Hanukkah items does not violate anyone’s rights. Moreover, we have no reason to believe that Hobby Lobby has refused to stock Hanukkah items because of hostility to Jews or anti-Semitism. In fact, some Hobby Lobby stores have stocked a few Hanukkah items in the past, and the chain is apparently considering stocking more Jewish merchandise in the future as they expand into more culturally diverse markets.
At the end of the day, merchandisers have the right to decide which items to include in their inventory. The decision should be theirs and theirs alone.