A local real estate team's billboard has been taken down after the realtors featured in the advertisement were called out online for its racial undertones.
The ad, which stood at Royal York Road near Lake Shore Boulevard West, was shared to Twitter by Trevor Lui over the weekend. It shows two realtors -- Michael Majeski and Dylan Fieldhouse -- "karate chopping" beside text that reads:
COVID Real Estate Ninjas At Your Service. Alongside the image, Lui commented on the ad's inappropriate nature.
"Nah bros..." he wrote. "You know better."
Following Lui's drawing attention to the billboard, additional Twitter-users shared their sentiments on the issues with the ad.
"There are SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH THIS," wrote Pay Chen, quote-tweeting Lui's original post. "This shit needs to stop." Another user, Karon Liu, responded to Chen, "The casual racism! The terrible form! The fonts! The random Covid slapped on there! Choices were made!"
CTV News reports that Majeski said he was "surprised" by the responses the ad received but, in retrospect, "he sees a lot of validity in what people are saying.” The publication received a statement from Majeski, summarizing his reflection on the situation.
“I am learning to unlearn a lot of my white privilege so that I can best support our diverse community,” he said. “I not only apologize for the insensitivities of our billboard ad, and have already worked to have it removed immediately; I am also apologizing to anyone who felt belittled by our insensitive message. It will not happen again.”
Further, Majeski stated that Fieldhouse was not accountable for the billboard; instead, he himself was "100 per cent" responsible for the "poor decision."
Meanwhile, also according to CTV, Re/Max Integra said that they were not aware of the billboard before it went up.
“The messaging in the advertisement directly conflicts with our values and belief in equality, inclusiveness and access to homeownership for all. As part of a global franchise brand, our next step will be to alert the franchise owner with whom these agents work to address this as soon as possible,” the company stated.
The billboard's owner, Outfront Media, told CTV the advertisement has been removed.