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Ad agency founder 'fires himself' after saying Motel 6 commercial was 'too black'


An advertising agency founder has ‘fired himself’ for saying a Motel 6 commercial was ‘too black’ and wouldn’t resonate with the chain’s ‘significant white supremacist constituents’.

The Richards Group’s boss Stan Richards, 87, announced he was standing down after he sparked outrage with his comments and triggered several clients to part ways with the firm.  

Richards made racist remarks about the proposed advertisement the company had worked on with budget motel chain Motel 6 during an internal Zoom call earlier this month. 

Lucrative clients including Texas grocery chain H-E-B cut ties with the firm after news of his comments broke and the boss was forced to issue a groveling apology. 

The Richards Group's boss Stan Richards, 87, (pictured) announced he has 'fired himself' after he said a Motel 6 commercial was 'too black' and wouldn't resonate with the chain's 'significant white supremacist constituents'

The Richards Group’s boss Stan Richards, 87, (pictured) announced he has ‘fired himself’ after he said a Motel 6 commercial was ‘too black’ and wouldn’t resonate with the chain’s ‘significant white supremacist constituents’

Richards announced last week he was ‘firing myself’ over his racially insensitive remarks.

‘If this was a publicly held company, I’d be fired for the comments I made. But we’re not public, so I am firing myself,’ he said in a statement. 

‘Our employees, first and foremost, deserve that.’   

The 87-year-old also released a groveling video apologizing to his workforce and the wider industry and describing his comments as ‘the biggest mistake of my life’. 

‘Some years back I wrote a book called ‘The Peaceable Kingdom’, he began. 

‘The subhead was building a company without the factionalism, fiefdoms, fear and other staples of modern business. Frankly I’m deeply ashamed to acknowledge that last Thursday I failed to live up to my own philosophy.

‘I made a mistake. The biggest mistake of my life. One I will never be able to explain or take back.’

Richards acknowledged that his ‘inappropriate words’ have ’caused pan and anger to the people who I respect and care about’ but insisted he had ‘never used racial slurs’ in the past.

‘I can unequivocally say I have never used racist slurs about any ethnic group or tolerated it from anyone around me and I certainly do not support white supremacy in any form or fashion,’ he said. 

Richards, 87, made racist remarks about the proposed advertisement the company had worked on with budget motel chain Motel 6 during an internal Zoom call earlier this month

Richards, 87, made racist remarks about the proposed advertisement the company had worked on with budget motel chain Motel 6 during an internal Zoom call earlier this month

‘I have deeply disappointed those who have looked to me for guidance and leadership. In that moment I wiped out years of trust and all I can say is that I was wrong.’ 

He closed off saying he was ‘truly and deeply sorry’ and asking for ‘help to make me better so that together we can make the world better’. 

Richards also apologized to students and faculty of the advertising and public relations school at the University of Texas at Austin which was named after him.    

Richards’ apology came after he drew the ire of his workforce, the industry and several clients when he made the shocking comments about the Motel 6 campaign in an internal company Zoom call on October 8.

Lucrative clients including Texas grocery chain H-E-B cut ties with the firm after news of his comments broke and the boss was forced to issue a groveling apology. Pictured an H-E-B ad featuring the San Antonio Spurs players that the agency worked on

Lucrative clients including Texas grocery chain H-E-B cut ties with the firm after news of his comments broke and the boss was forced to issue a groveling apology. Pictured an H-E-B ad featuring the San Antonio Spurs players that the agency worked on

On the call, the founder allegedly said the proposed ad was ‘too black’ and would not resonate with the company’s ‘significant white supremacist constituents,’ according to advertising magazine Ad Age.

As the ad was still in the proposal stage, the content of the ad is not known. 

Attendees to the creative review reportedly challenged Richards and he swiftly signed off from the call. 

His comments sparked an immediate exodus of clients including Motel 6, H-E-B, Christian charity The Salvation Army, Home Depot, Keurig Dr Pepper, pest control firm Orkin and auto parts retailer Advance Auto Parts.

H-E-B said in a statement that ‘derogatory and racially charged remarks’ had no place being connected to the business. 

‘The derogatory and racially charged remarks made by Stan Richards have no place at H-E-B nor in the communities we serve,’ the grocer announced. 

‘As soon as we learned about this egregious incident, we commenced discussions with The Richards Group and have since ended our business relationship with the agency.’

Glenn Dady, creative director at The Richards Group, will now take the helm of the company

Glenn Dady, creative director at The Richards Group, will now take the helm of the company

This comes as a major blow to the ad agency after it has worked with H-E-B on a number of campaigns since the mid-2000s, including Super Bowl commercials and a series featuring the San Antonio Spurs players.       

Glenn Dady, creative director at The Richards Group, will now take the helm of the company.

‘We understand and regret the pain and concerns of all those who were deeply troubled by the words our founder spoke,’ Dady said in a statement. 

‘He can’t take them back. We can only ask for forgiveness and promise to learn and be better.’ 

Richards unveiled Dady, who has been with the firm 40 years, as his successor back in December but said he didn’t plan to retire, once saying he would keep working at the firm ’till I croak.’

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