Citizen group asks Experience Regina CEO to resign after slogan campaign backlash

About a dozen people rallied inside Regina City Hall on Wednesday, asking for the CEO of the city’s tourism agency to resign amid ongoing backlash over-sexualized slogans the organization had used.

Bernadette Wagner, a spokesperson for the group, said CEO Tim Reid should be removed from “anything to do with the city of Regina” after the tourism agency, Experience Regina, used slogans online that made light of the city’s name rhyming with vagina.

Reid has apologized for the “negative impact” the slogans have had on the city, but Wagner said the apology isn’t enough.

“Many survivors of sexual assault, including me, have been triggered and re-traumatized by this horrid campaign,” Wagner said.

“Nor am I the only one who’s absolutely tired of this, tired of the bad jokes, tired of sexual harassment, tired of responding to this misogyny, and especially when it comes from our own tourism department. It is time for the city to take action.”

Reid was not immediately available for comment but has said he doesn’t think the controversy warrants his resignation.

Earlier this month, Experience Regina rebranded and used certain phrases on its website and social media accounts, including “We are the city that rhymes with fun” and “Show us your Regina.”

The “city that rhymes with fun” is an old joke, particularly by people who do not live in Regina, which often receives eye-rolls from locals.

Various citizens and women’s organizations have described the slogans and the campaign as lazy, lewd and sexist.

It drew international attention, particularly from popular late-night talk-show hosts who poked fun at it.

Experience Regina’s website has been offline for more than a week. It hasn’t been active on social media since March 20.

Some city councillors had said they were blindsided when they learned of the slogans and have asked for accountability.

Wagner is demanding the city launch a full inquiry.

“(The inquiry) would certainly rout out those with the bad attitudes and perhaps provide an opportunity, a starting point, for re-educating people on how to treat women,” she said.

Wagner has also asked for equal representation at the marketing table when the city creates ad campaigns and has called on Mayor Sandra Masters, councillors and staff to receive education about inclusivity, racism and sexual harassment.

Masters has said the slogans were sexist and wrong but does not think Reid should resign.

The mayor has said the slogans were not part of a presentation she saw in the lead-up to their launch.

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