Company In Hot Water After “White Elephant” Gift Exchange Deemed Culturally Insensitive

Company In Hot Water After White Elephant Gift Exchange Deemed Culturally Insensitive

CHICAGO, Il. — A first-year employee is threatening legal action against a marketing firm in Chicago over an event that was to take place at their annual holiday party on December 17.

Sarah Foster, 24, was recently hired after a two-year stint in Ethiopia where she utilized her social work degree from Brown University to aid in setting up a running water system for a native tribe that had survived perfectly fine for 200 years without it.

The incident occurred on the Monday morning following Thanksgiving when, upon receiving an evite from the firm’s office administrator inviting Ms. Foster to a “white elephant” gift exchange, Foster brought the issue to human resources in search for a solution for the “cultural insensitivity” she had encountered.

Human resources manager, David Williams, attempted to explain the premise of a white elephant gift exchange but the description apparently fell on deaf ears.

“When I explained to her what the exchange actually was, she remained confused,” Williams explained. “At first I thought she believed that we were actually exchanging white elephants, but I soon learned that she wasn’t interpreting the exchange literally.”

Williams went on to explain that Foster insisted the holiday tradition was racist despite his explanation that the event consisted solely of a hand-to-hand exchange of goods in a predetermined order.

“Elephants are native to Africa, therefore elephants are not white,” Foster told us in an interview held in the company’s breakroom. “It’s typical corporate America whitewashing the world’s culture to make them their own.”

The controversy comes on the heels of a similar dispute in 2014 that forced the company to remove their Christmas tree after a white, Christian employee threatened legal action on the basis that the 4-foot faux tree was a “beacon of religious ignorance.”

Despite canceling the company’s holiday party in 2014, and now this year as well, Williams insists that these “microaggressions” are simple misunderstandings rather than attempts for the “higher-ups” to push their “pro-white agendas.”

Image via Shutterstock

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Will deFries (Twitter / Instagram) is a Senior Writer at Grandex and the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries (Twitter / Instagram). Email me at

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