On behalf of all people with albinism, Ikponwosa (I.K.) Ero has taken issue with the marketing of Earls’ “Albino Rhino” beer and “Albino Wings Wednesdays,” saying the names are discriminatory and offensive.
In a decision released on Friday, the tribunal decided the issue was complicated and could not be dismissed without a full hearing.
Earls had attempted to have Ero’s complaint dismissed before the hearing, saying the term “albino” is neutral and therefore did not encourage discrimination against people with albinism.
According to Friday’s ruling, Earls has been brewing Albino Rhino beer for 25 years. Its name was chosen for its “whimsical” nature.
But in her complaint Ero alleges the name “has an adverse impact on persons with albinism in that it is demeaning and humiliating for the complainants to have their condition featured as a menu item and to have Earl’s (sic) patrons ordering products named after their condition, in particular patrons who order ‘an albino.’”
The complaint also states that adding “albino” products to the Earls menu increases the likelihood that people with albinism will suffer discrimination.
Albinism is a genetic condition that makes the body unable to either produce or distribute melanin, the substance that gives colour to hair, skin and the iris of the eyes.
A date has not been set for the hearing, although it will likely be in the new year.
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