Austin PR firm releases new name after 'strange fruit' scandal
The Austin public relations firm under fire for using a racially insensitive name has released its new identity.
On Tuesday morning the founders of what was formerly known as Strange Fruit PR announced that their PR firm will now be known as Perennial Public Relations. With the announcement came another statement regarding the backlash that put Strange Fruit PR in national headlines over the weekend.
The hospitality PR firm, which represents a host of influential Austin restaurants, was called out via social media for using a name associated with the lynching of blacks in the South. Based on a poem by Abel Meeropol, "Strange Fruit" was made famous after it was recorded as a song by Billie Holiday in 1939. The phrase "strange fruit" refers to the bodies of black men and women hanging from trees.
After a failed attempt at assuaging the public on Twitter, the company went offline (deactivating its social media accounts and taking down its website) while it worked on creating a new name. Below is the full statement released by Perennial PR via email on Tuesday:
We sincerely apologize to those offended by the former name of our firm. As of today, we have renamed our firm to Perennial Public Relations. We have always prided ourselves as open-minded individuals and we remain committed to serving our clientele and community. In no way did we ever intend for the name of our firm to offend nor infer any implication of racism. We are grateful for and appreciate the ongoing support of our clients and community.