Restaurant: We're Honoring The Albino Rhino, Not Demeaning People With Albinism

Up there in Canada hey, specifically in Vancouver, there’s a popular chain restaurant that has a few items on the menu branded with the word “albino.” And while the eatery says they’re celebrating the mystical, rare albino rhino, a woman with albinism has filed a complaint for marketing that she calls “demeaning” to people with the genetic condition.

The woman filed the complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal against Earls Restaurant, which has an “Albino Rhino” line of beer and “Albino Wings Wednesdays,” reports CBC News.

She says such wording is demeaning to her and all those with albinism — a condition that makes the body unable to either produce or distribute melanin, which in turn, gives color to skin, hair and eyes.

The woman points out that other conditions aren’t used to name menu items. She adds that she was born in Nigeria, where people with albinism are often murdered. She and her family fled to Canada when she as a teenager to escape such a threat.

“You go into a restaurant and someone says, ‘Can I get a palsy? Give me a palsy,'” she said. “And what it stands for is a cerebral palsy cocktail. I don’t think that would fly well at all with anybody with cerebral palsy, or their families, who have to live with the condition. So how does it work, in [the case of albinism] that you can market food with a medical condition?”

Earls Restaurant issued a statement that says the “Albino Rhino” and other albino menu items were created 25 years ago and were never meant to offend.

“The name was chosen because it was fun and whimsical in sound and denoted something rare and special — we felt proud to have such a beautiful animal, the white rhino, representing our brand,” says the statement from the vice president of Human Resources. “It did not occur to us that the name would be associated with albinism, nor did it occur to us it would offend, and in the 25 years we have been serving our beer we have never had a complaint about the name until now.”

B.C. woman wants ‘Albino Rhino’ off menu at Earls [CBC News]