LivingSocial apologizes for adding dreidels to ‘greed’ room at party

October 30, 2013

LivingSocial apologized on Wednesday for decorating a “greed” room at a Halloween party with dreidels, which are associated with the upcoming Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

“We do not condone prejudice, nor do we tolerate inappropriate or hurtful behavior of any sort,” LivingSocial spokesman Kevin Nolan said in a statement. “What happened at the event does not reflect who we are as a company and we are deeply apologetic.”

The party was held Saturday night at LivingSocial’s 918 F Street venue in downtown Washington. For $59, attendees could check out seven rooms made up to represent the seven deadly sins. The “lust” room included a burlesque show; the “gluttony” room offered sweets; and the “sloth” room invited people to relax on a couch.

The “greed” room was advertised by LivingSocial as follows: “In this shimmering room full of silver and gold, we’ll get greedy challenging friends to a plethora of games, all while sipping on a Midas Touch cocktail.”

According to Washington Jewish Week’s Suzanne Pollak, who first reported the news, this room also featured dreidels and gold coins. (A dreidel is a spinning top used to play traditional Hanukkah games.)

At least one person who attended found the decorations highly offensive, telling Pollak:

“I was very offended. I just thought it was completely inappropriate.” …

The upset partygoer said she considered the room’s decorations “clearly anti-Semitic” and that although she has enjoyed other LivingSocial events, like cooking classes and wine tastings, she has no intention of ever attending another one of the company’s events again.

Nolan said that LivingSocial is offering “a full refund” to anyone who attended the event and that customers should contact LivingSocial’s customer service department by calling 877-521-4191 to get their refund.

The online deals company, which was founded in Washington, has been struggling since the daily deal craze died down. The company fired 160 workers in Washington and 400 employees overall less than a year ago. As a result, it has yet to reach the hiring goals necessary to receive tax breaks that were approved by the D.C. Council last year.

Were you at the party? Did you happen to take any photos of the “greed” room? Send me an email at mark.berman [at] washpost dot com.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos, who recently purchased The Washington Post, is the founder and chief executive of Amazon.com. That company owns 31 percent of LivingSocial, according to Amazon’s most recent SEC filings.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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