Words: Alastair James; pictures Twitter / Hornby
The toy train maker, Hornby, has apologised after jumping on the Pride bandwagon (literally) with a rainbow-branded 'Pride' product that didn't support LGBTQ causes.
To mark the start of Pride month (1 June) the company tweeted an image of their new Pride wagon but said they wouldn’t be donating to any LGBTQ charities.
Unsurprisingly, a social media backlash ensued, and Hornby posted an update yesterday (3 June) admitting they’d got it wrong and asking for suggestions of which charities to donate money to.
“Imagine instead of a rainbow, it's a Poppy”
Please be advised we're not donating any money at present but we'll be keeping this in mind for the future. We wanted to show our commitment to the LGBTQ+ Community with this model alongside our existing Pride models & hope that it'll be a benefit & encourage awareness. Thank you— Hornby (@hornby) June 2, 2021
Hornby posted on Tuesday saying they wanted to support the LGBTQ community with the new wagon people could order online with the line, “Be inclusive with this web exclusive!”
They also tweeted: “Please be advised we're not donating any money at present but we'll be keeping this in mind for the future. We wanted to show our commitment to the LGBTQ+ Community with this model alongside our existing Pride models & hope that it'll be a benefit & encourage awareness. Thank you”
People were not happy. Some drew comparisons to when the brand increased the number of limited edition trains to celebrate Sir Captain Tom Moore and the NHS and the company was able to find £40,000 to donate to NHS charities.
This you? https://t.co/uRAcf493z3— ya brat éponine 🧜🏻♀️🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@BeingJarley) June 2, 2021
One person likened it to designing a collectible with a poppy on but not donating anything to the Poppy Appeal.
For the people in the comments who seemingly don't get it.— 🔻Beef & Teeth🔻(𝓃) (@BeefAndTeeth) June 3, 2021
Imagine instead of a rainbow, it's a Poppy.
Imagine Hornby slapping a Poppy on a train but not donating any of the profits to the Poppy Appeal.
Get it now? pic.twitter.com/TsHc5VlVP1
“Waving the flag is not enough”
Following the furore, Hornby apologised admitting: “We have got this wrong and deeply apologise - waving the flag is not enough. We must promote the LGBTQ+ Community by donating the proceeds."
The company has since asked people to suggest where the best places in the community to donate would be, providing an email address for people to use.
Following the launch of the Hornby LGBTQ+ Pride Wagon on Tuesday, we would like to say sorry! We have got this wrong and deeply apologise - waving the flag is not enough. We must promote the LGBTQ+ Community by donating the proceeds. Please see continued information below.. pic.twitter.com/lf0UxdnDeD— Hornby (@hornby) June 3, 2021
Please do share your suggestions regarding where you think the proceeds should go by emailing [email protected] Thank you.— Hornby (@hornby) June 3, 2021
It seems to have been enough, with people thanking the brand for the U-turn and suggesting various charities the company would be best placed to support.
Responding to Attitude's request for comment, Hornby says the model Pride Wagon was introduced "with only good intentions – to show our commitment to the community. We soon realised that it wasn’t being received in this way hence us taking action.
"In the hobby we work in we produce model railway products to provide enjoyment and happiness and the whole situation since announcing the model went against that.
"It was not nice seeing such an influx of negative comments but we have watched, listened and learnt."
The Attitude July issue is out now.