Home The Latest SolarWorld holiday card called racist

SolarWorld holiday card called racist

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BY LEE VAN DER VOO

A racially charged holiday greeting is fanning the flames of a trade dispute in the solar industry, one that already has business leaders and others feeling touchy.

Sent to overseas associates, the card features a wish-list of top priorities for SolarWorld, with hopes like “job creation” and “safe warranties” dashed by a shrugging Chinese man in a Santa suit.

The image of the toothy Chinese man with a somewhat Grinch-like palor prompted Ocean Yuan, founder of Eugene-based Grape Solar, to express outrage.

In a Jan. 17 letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Yuan urged the duo to cut ties with SolarWorld. He said the Oregon Democrats should be “embarrassed and outraged by this blatantly racist card and disgraceful caricature attack on the Chinese” because both supported SolarWorld’s trade petition to the Department of Commerce.

SolarWorld’s Ben Santarris, in a statement on the company’s website, said the card was distributed by SolarWorld AG, the German parent company of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., which is based in Hillsboro.

“SolarWorld Industries America Inc. wishes to express its sincere apology to anyone who received an inappropriate and insensitive holiday card,” he said, indicating business contacts in Europe predominantly received an entirely different card sent by the American subsidiary.

The apology hasn’t been made personally to Yuan, who said he received the card after it was forwarded by a supplier. “I was shocked to see that,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

He has plans to circulate the image around Asian-American communities in major cities and the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus Wednesday, barring response from Merkley or Wyden.

Grape Solar and SolarWorld are on opposite sides of a debate about Chinese subsidies in the solar market. SolarWorld is leading a coalition asking for tariffs on Chinese imports, arguing China’s subsidies to its solar manufacturers are allowing the companies to dump solar cells on the U.S. market for less than the price of making them. Grape Solar is a major distributor of solar panels and among those that argue Chinese components are essential to keeping solar costs low and encouraging adoption of solar technology.

UPDATE:
Wyden and Merkley have issued this joint statement:

“We absolutely condemn the card SolarWorld AG sent to its European clients.  There can be no debate that it is inappropriate and offensive and SolarWorld AG is right to apologize. The trade complaint filed by SolarWorld USA – which had no part in creating and distributing this card — should be judged on its merits.  To do otherwise would be unfair to the American workers losing their jobs because of unfair trade practices.”

Lee van der Voo is a contributing writer for Oregon Business.


 

Comments   

 
Deb
0 #1 Solar World Holiday CardDeb 2012-01-18 11:13:23
I'd love to see the card to make my own assessment!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
jimi
0 #2 And Ocean Claims...jimi 2012-01-18 12:22:52
So the card, aside from using a non-white person, is inappropriate and incorrect because Chinese manufactured panels do actually provide “job creation” and “safe warranties”? Really, Ocean?!? S'funny, I think that taking sensitivity to a picture from a company that you don't purchase from and wasn't sent to you in the first place is using your 1st amendment rights to beat up another's 1st amendment rights. Brilliant.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS