DFS, a leading British furniture retailer, has reacted immediately after learning that its brand is being advertised next to racist material on the website Urban Dictionary.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has contacted numerous household brands after they were discovered to have been advertising on the controversial website by Dr Daniel Allington in peer-reviewed research published yesterday and seen in advance by Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Dr Allington, who is Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London and a volunteer with Campaign Against Antisemitism, showed that many entries in the Urban Dictionary appear to have been written by white supremacists and other bigots and that well-known brands are advertising alongside their racism.
Dr Allington said: “I realised that hardcore racists were exploiting Urban Dictionary’s ‘anything goes’ philosophy to promote their extremist views. It wouldn’t matter so much if it was an obscure website that nobody’s heard of, but the Urban Dictionary is one of the most popular websites in the world and it carries adverts for household name brands.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been in contact with the Group Chief Executive Officer of DFS who was horrified that his company’s brand was being advertised on Urban Dictionary, contrary to the company’s agreements with its advertisers. Within one day the company has taken immediate remedial action and has thanked Campaign Against Antisemitism for bringing the matter to its attention.
Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “DFS has responded in a manner that should be a model for the other companies and organisations we have contacted, and indeed for other brands who might be found in a similar situation due to the actions of third-party advertisers. The company has undertaken swift and conclusive action and we are heartened to see such proactivity. We are also grateful to Dr Daniel Allington for his research which has enabled us to take this action, alerting these household brands to protect their reputations.”