PR Gaffe: Yelp Pairs Sexual Innuendo with SF Women Against Rape

Categories: Local News, WTF?

We like bikes. We like nonprofits that work to end violence against women. Sometimes we like Yelp, although Yelpers don't always like us. But there was something about today's Weekly Yelp (an e-mail newsletter that's also posted on the site) that smacked of PR gone awry. Apparently, others thought the same thing, as when we checked back at the Web site today, a questionable headline had been changed.

The newsletters are always a round-up of favorably Yelped business and they're always brought to you by someone: The Stop Aids Project's name was attached to a round-up of the best "street eats" sent out on April 14th, for instance. This week's email was entitled "Put the Fun Between Your Legs." (The title is actually the only reason I clicked on this particular missive, I usually ignore them, so kudos to the writer for appealing to my baser instincts.) The round-up featured positively Yelped bike repair shops in the city and was brimming with sexual innuendo. "Can you hang?" it queried, "Megan W is up in spoke over Mojo Bicycle Cafe, what with their "vegan donuts and an endless parade of good-looking boys..." and went onto crow that "Amy D took her bike into Valencia Cyclery, where the "very kind (and cute) repair guy" fixed the problem with "literally one finger." *sigh*"

Who was this Weekly Yelp brought to you by? San Francisco Women Against Rape.

Oh, dear.

Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first) but the sight of the headline "Put the Fun Between Your Legs" hovering above the moniker SF Women Against Rape ... well, it was troublesome. I don't want "between my legs", "fun" and "rape" associated with each other in any context.

Yelp apparently caught on to the tone-deaf pairing, as the new headline reads "Corrected: A Bicycle Built for Yelp" and a clarifications states, "Due to an editorial oversight, an earlier version of the Weekly Yelp contained a headline that was inappropriate for the context. We apologize for the mistake."

In the words of many a Yelper, I wish I could give that editorial oversight negative stars.

The corrected version.

Update: There's an ongoing converstaion on the Yelp message boards here with responses from Yelp's Community Manager.
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