With the Black Lives Matter Movement, a lot of buzz on the internet has popularized strong opinions. In response, major corporations expressed solidarity by releasing statements regarding recent events. As a result, consumers praised these actions and continued to support their favorite businesses. However, behind all of these declarations, many have been called out for problematic behavior.

What is virtue signaling?

Most of these wealthy empires follow the same pattern of virtue signaling. Virtue signaling is the act of sharing one’s political views in order to gain positive acknowledgement. This marketing tactic has successfully worked in gaining attraction from the general public. However, former employees shockingly revealed a darker side to the business world.

Urban Outfitters

The massive fashion retailer recently has been exposed for racial profiling their customers. Former employees used names such as “Nicky” and “Nicole” to racially profile black customers who were shoplifters “most of the time”. After these allegations were made, an outpour of stories from customers detailed similar experiences of harassment. On the company’s website, it states:

“Let’s begin by saying Black lives matter. What interests and excites us are the possibilities that are implied by the concept of life being intrinsically meaningful.”

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters’ failure to educate their employees makes it difficult for consumers to support the company.

The Ellen Show

Ellen Degeneres caught the heat of controversy when a Twitter thread went viral, exposing the celebrity of bad behavior. Former employees of The Ellen Show accused management of microaggressions. One black woman claimed a producer would get her and another black female colleague mixed up. A writer once said, “I’m sorry, but I only know the names of the white people who work here.” Ellen Degeneres’ mantra on her show is to “Be kind to one another.” However, it seemed that kindness was only expressed to white employees.


Despite these failed acts of virtue signaling, some brands have stuck with their word with fighting for human rights. The Korean skincare brand, Missha, made progressive strides when they paused all activity on their website to commemorate Blackout Day. Additionally, their Instagram page provided resources on the impact of the black community.

Virtue signaling is utilized in a variety of ways whether to gain followers. It’s important to realize that instead of looking at others as a model activist, we must focus our energy into becoming better contributions to our society.

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