Friday 1 July 2022 02:12 PM Halifax pronouns scandal: MORE customers close accounts after social media ... trends now

Friday 1 July 2022 02:12 PM Halifax pronouns scandal: MORE customers close accounts after social media ... trends now
Friday 1 July 2022 02:12 PM Halifax pronouns scandal: MORE customers close accounts after social media ... trends now

Friday 1 July 2022 02:12 PM Halifax pronouns scandal: MORE customers close accounts after social media ... trends now

Halifax's pronouns PR disaster has sparked an exodus of customers and their savings today.

Britons are closing their accounts en masse after its social media team told them to leave if they don't like their new badges for staff to help avoid 'accidental misgendering'.

One account holder told MailOnline they have already pulled out investments and savings worth £450,000 while many more said they are closing ISAs, cutting up credit cards or transferring balances to rivals after they accused the bank of 'alienating' them with 'pathetic virtue signalling'.

Branding expert Martin Townsend said Halifax's policy is a 'Ratner moment' and an 'astonishing' mistake that will be considered one of the biggest PR blunders in recent history.

He told LBC: 'It's a Ratner moment I would say. It's astonishing that they do something to make themselves look right on and virtue signalling - and they end up looking like the most old fashioned bullies, telling them: "If you don't like it you're welcome to leave". It's extraordinary. Who treats their customers like that? I've never heard of a company inviting their customers to go. How is that inclusive?'.

The row began this week when Halifax, which was propped up by the taxpayer to the tune of £30billion as part of a 2008 bailout, tweeted its 118,000 followers on Tuesday revealing that it would allow staff to display their pronouns on their name badges, in a post that read 'pronouns matter'.

It showed a photo of a female staff member's name badge, which featured 'she/her/hers' in brackets under the name Gemma.

One customer replied: 'There’s no ambiguity about the name “Gemma”. It’s a female person’s name. In other words, it’s pathetic virtue signalling and is seen as such by almost everyone who has responded to the initial tweet. Why are you trying to alienate people?' Within 20 minutes a member of the Halifax social media team, calling himself Andy M, replied: 'If you disagree with our values, you're welcome to close your account'.

Andy M's response has outraged customers, and seen hundreds claiming they will boycott the bank with many saying they have closed their accounts. Others have cut up their credit cards or getting rid of insurance policies and said the threat was the final straw after it cut 27 branches alone in 2022.

One told MailOnline: 'My entire family have now transferred their accounts to Nationwide, cards etc. Loss to Halifax is in excess of 450K in investment accounts and savings'. Another said: 'I closed my credit card account today, after fifteen years of being a customer', while one exiting customer who is now changing ISAs containing more than £11,000 and said: 'If they politely said try to use the pronouns on the badge - I would have done my best', but left because he perceived their threat meant 'there would be hell to pay if I got it wrong'. 

One customer from the Midlands said he has transferred £1,100 from his credit card to another company today, and said: 'I've closed my account....sick to death of woke'.

Former Doctor Who scriptwriter Gareth Roberts, a Halifax customer since 1988, told the bank: 'I'm a homosexual man. I'm appalled by your adoption of this homophobic, woman-hating claptrap, and by your attitude to customers making perfectly reasonable objections to it.'  Company director Anders Jersby ended his Halifax car insurance policy and said he would never deal with Halifax again thanks to 'their antics with pronouns'. 

Natwest, Nationwide and HSBC all have optional pronoun policies for badges. HSBC even shared the Halifax post,  tweeting its 101,000 followers: 'We stand with and support any bank or organisation that joins us in taking this positive step forward for equality and inclusion. It's vital that everyone can be themselves in the workplace'.

The row began on Tuesday when Halifax posted on Twitter a photo of a uniform badge with the words 'she/her/hers' below the name Gemma and the declaration: 'Pronouns matter'. It said the move was designed to avoid 'accidental misgendering'

The row began on Tuesday when Halifax posted on Twitter a photo of a uniform badge with the words 'she/her/hers' below the name Gemma and the declaration: 'Pronouns matter'. It said the move was designed to avoid 'accidental misgendering'

The critical tweets prompted the bank to defend its new policy by responding to the tweets. It said in one post: 'We strive for inclusion, equality and quite simply, in doing what's right. If you disagree with our values, you're welcome to close your account'

The critical tweets prompted the bank to defend its new policy by responding to the tweets. It said in one post: 'We strive for inclusion, equality and quite simply, in doing what's right. If you disagree with our values, you're welcome to close your account'

This angry customer who claimed to have been with Halifax since the 1990s said they were moving their mortgage, cancelling their credit cards and closing their deposit account

This angry customer who claimed to have been with Halifax since the 1990s said they were moving their mortgage, cancelling their credit cards and closing their deposit account

This MailOnline reader cancelled his credit cards today and told customer services: 'Pronouns matter when used properly, I will not be told by a bank what I can and can't'

This MailOnline reader cancelled his credit cards today and told customer services: 'Pronouns matter when used properly, I will not be told by a bank what I can and can't'

People are seen using Halifax cash machines in Manchester. The bank has refused to rescind its pronoun policy

People are seen using Halifax cash machines in Manchester. The bank has refused to rescind its pronoun policy

How jewellery firm boss Gerald Ratner became infamous in PR gaffe now being compared to Halifax's tweet

Before his infamous gaffe, Gerald Ratner had turned high street jewellery shops into a mass market for the first time.

In 1991, he gave a speech to the Institute of Directors in which he joked that the firm's earrings were 'cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long'.

He also said: 'We do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "Because it's total crap."'

The publicity - coupled to a general economic downturn - led to a crash in the firm's share price, with its value plummeting by around £500million.

It forced Mr Ratner to give up control of the business and appoint a new chairman.

He was fired from the company, which was soon renamed Signet Group, in 1992, and claimed he had lost £500million as a result of the controversy.

Advertisement

Mr Townsend referred to Gerald Ratner, who infamously caused the value of the jewellery firm he was chief executive

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Tuesday 9 August 2022 05:46 PM Number of homes listed for sale jumps 12.5% in a month as 'it's now a buyers' ... trends now
NEXT Monday 1 August 2022 12:03 AM Keir Starmer faces crisis as unions' revolt grows over failure to back strikes trends now