VANCOUVER — The B.C. Human Right Tribunal has reportedly agreed to hear a case against Earls Restaurant, which sells Albino Rhino beer.
The case was filed by Ikponwosa Ero, an immigrant from Nigeria, who was born with albinism, a genetic condition that leaves those who carry a specific trait unable to manufacture melanin or skin and hair pigment. After reportedly asking the restaurant chain to “phase out” the offending beer, and not getting a positive response, a human rights case was launched.
Earls has issued a statement. It reads: “We very much respect what Mr. Ash (the gentleman who initially voiced the complaint) is doing to improve the lives of persons with Albinism in Tanzania and his passion in bringing attention to the terrible occurrences there, and while we sympathize greatly with this, we do not feel that the use of the white rhino on our logo or “Albino Rhino” as a beer brand reflects, intended or unintended, any intention to discriminate against persons with Albinism. It did not occur to us that the name would be associated with Albinism, nor did it occur to us it would offend, and in the 25 years we have been serving this beer, we have never had a complaint about the name, until now. On occasion, our Albino Rhino beer is paired with a chicken-wing special, however we have never offered “albino wings.”
The company goes on to comment that “ [The beer] was named after the white Rhinoceros and the rhyming name chosen because it was both fun and whimsical in sound and denoted something rare and special — we felt proud to have such a beautiful animal, the white rhino, representing our brand.”
A date has not been set for the hearing.