The Yukon Chamber of Mines is facing backlash for a tongue-in-cheek ad it posted on social media last week offering to supply U.S. President-elect Donald Trump with “wall building materials” from Yukon mines.
On Nov. 9, the day after Trump won the American election, the chamber tweeted out “Hey @realDonaldTrump, we hear you’re interested in walls…” above an image of the beginnings of a brick wall and a slogan that reads “Yukon mining produces the BEST wall building materials.”
The ad appears to reference the border wall Trump has promised to build between the U.S. and Mexico.
The chamber initially posted the ad to its Facebook page as well, but has since taken it down. It has not removed the ad from its Twitter account.
By the end of last week, the chamber was taking a lot of heat on social media for making light of the border wall.
“This is insanely inappropriate,” tweeted Brianne Bremner.
“I had no idea you had anything to do with building walls, and now I know you think #xenophobia and #racism are funny. Not cool,” posted Neil Macdonald.
Local musician Gordie Tentrees also waded into the fray, tweeting “@YukonMiners @realDonaldTrump absolutly disgusting you mention yourself in the same breath. Top #1 most embarrassing Yukon Miners moment.”
Others were more succinct. “Delete your account,” posted Taylor Tiefenbach.
But not everyone thought the ad was in poor taste. On Nov. 9, before the uproar began, Kris Bailey tweeted “With the mining projects in the Yukon you could gild that wall with gold..!!,” to which the chamber replied “That’s what a BEST wall is made of!”
The Chamber of Mines did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
Jeff Wolosewich, who also criticized the ad on Twitter, believes the chamber should apologize for using the border wall to attract attention.
“It’s mindboggling to think that you’d want to link yourself to that,” he told the News. “There’s so much tied into the idea of the wall that would be a breach of human rights in people’s minds.”
He doesn’t believe the chamber was intentionally condoning racism or xenophobia, but said the ad is still inappropriate.
“I’m sure no harm was intended,” he said. “A lot of what racism is is unintended…. It is racism, even if you don’t intend it to be.”
Wolosewich said he’d rather see the chamber apologize than pull down the ad.
“That’s all it takes, and I think people are forgiving, even on social media,” he said. “It’s important when you make a mistake, you need to own it, and that’s something that I think is a sign of true leadership and strength.”
Contact Maura Forrest at email@example.com