The Konformist

Version 2.0
November 1998

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Can You Say "RAPE"?

Thanks to Sightings ( for the following.

When is a "mistake" not a mistake? When the word "rape" is used in an advertisement, it is not a mistake. If the ad said "On Sale Discont", that would've been a mistake in spelling. No, sorry, this was intentional, not a "mistake". The question, of course, is if this was a prank pulled off by lower level employess (who would then face the threat of losing a job for their prank), or came from those higher up. I'll let you figure it out.

Caldor Apologizes For Rape Ad

Scrabble board in circular advertisement shows smiling boys and the word 'rape'

November 5, 1998: 12:38 p.m. ET


NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Caldor Corp. has issued an apology for an advertisement displaying two young boys and a Scrabble board that spelled out the word "rape."

Some 11 million copies of the ad appeared in a special 44-page toy circular distributed to 85 newspapers in the Northeast last weekend.

The Norwalk, Conn.-based discount chain discovered the problem late Friday after a customer called to complain.

Caldor said the Scrabble board shown in the ad was originally set up by a creative agency hired to design the advertising circular.

The company said it did not know how 11 million copies of the ad got past proofreaders, but acknowledged that both Caldor and the design agency, which the company refused to name, are responsible for proofreading the circular.


Caldor Apologizes For Ad


Norwalk-based Caldor has publicly apologized for its Scrabble advertisement in which the word ``rape'' is spelled out on the game-board. A spokesman for the department store chain said it was obviously a mistake and couldn't understand how proofreaders failed to notice it. Parents complained to Caldor after spotting the ad in a toy department flyer over the weekend.


Caldor 'Embarrassed' Over Ad


A spokesman for Norwalk based Caldor says the company is ``horrified and embarrassed'' by a recent advertisement in a circular. Several residents have angrily called Caldor because the ad that shows two children playing ``Scrabble'' contains the word ``rape'' on the gameboard. The spokesman says proofreaders should have seen the inappropriate word and the company will step up efforts to detect such mistakes.


Caldor Apologizes for Mistake in Ad


Associated Press Writer

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) -- Deirdre Armon, an avid Scrabble player, was horrified to discover how the famous board game was being advertised in her local circular.

A Caldor department store ad included a photograph of two boys sitting around a Scrabble board with the word ``RAPE'' spelled out in tiles arranged vertically.

``I was just shocked that that was allowed to slip through the cracks,'' said Armon, the mother of two girls. ``To see it go out in a flier especially for toys, that made it even more gruesome.''

Caldor apologized Tuesday for the mistake and said it does not know how 11 million copies of the image -- in which the word ``RAPE'' appeared on the board alongside two nonsense words -- got past proofreaders.

The Norwalk-based discount chain learned of the problem late Friday when a customer called to complain about the toy ad, which appeared in a special toy circular distributed in weekend newspapers.

``Obviously, it's a mistake,'' said Caldor spokeswoman Jennifer Belodeau. ``It's not something that we would ever have done intentionally. While we do proofread these things very carefully, with the volume on that particular page, that was something that was missed.''

The ``1998 Toy Book,'' a 44-page color circular advertising a two-week toy sale at Caldor, was distributed as an insert to 85 newspapers in the Northeast, where Caldor operates 145 stores.

Belodeau said the Scrabble board shown in the ad originally was set up by a creative agency hired by Caldor to design the advertising circular.

``It could be that everybody got up and took a break, and some unknown source came in and fooled with the board -- there's no way for us to know,'' she said.

Belodeau said both Caldor and the outside design agency were responsible for proofreading. She would not name the agency. ``I don't think we'll ever know how it actually ended up in the game,'' she said.

Lynn Hawley, a community educator at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford, said the ad was upsetting.

``One of the things that we're striving for is to increase sensitivity so that things like this don't happen,'' Hawley said. ``I want kids to know about these things so they can protect themselves, but there are a lot better ways than announcing the word rape in a circular.''

Milton Bradley Co., which makes Scrabble, said it had not seen the ad until after it was produced and distributed by Caldor.

``Caldor took full responsibility,'' said Mark Morris, a spokesman for Milton Bradley. ``We are satisfied that they reacted appropriately, once it was brought to their attention.''

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