Mercari USA's Witch Hat Logo is it Insensitive to people of Faith?

Mercari USA's Witch Hat Logo is it Insensitive to people of Faith?

SellerThink recently released its first "Marketplace" short film on YouTube called "The Mercari Glitch Project" a little Halloween found footage ghost story about a trio of friends who get lost and have strange encounters while in search of the infamous Mercari USA Headquarters. The video as suspected has its haters.  However, is there a difference between a YouTube channel which is a source of education, commentary and entertainment making a Halloween video about Mercari, compared to Mercari making a decision to force an app update which presents imagery that has historical tension not to much unlike the  Confederate Flag which is now banned on almost every mainstream marketplace for similar reasons.

Watch the whole "Mercari Glitch Project" on YouTube

For this reason, SellerThink takes a look into the questions many are asking, whether or not in open public groups like Facebook or other venues. Most sellers and shoppers probably will not directly confront Mercari with a complaint, but if they did, would Mercari care?  SellerThink can not answer that rethorical question; for perhaps some already have.  Unlike eBay which sends out email announcements, has a page on its marketplace dedicated to updates, changes and addressing controversies, including a public forums for its shoppers and sellers, Mercari generally avoids making public comments about its marketplace, including it's recent turn-over in customer service representatives and two-week customer support breakdown.  Regardless, SellerThink is the number one online source for Mercari updates, breakdowns, discussions of controversies, recent news, discovered changes and information about how to fully optimize its marketplace for sellers. So, lets take a look at the strange Mercari Wiccan Hat Logo.

Is Mercari culturally insensitive to people of faith?

Mercari has two policies about offensive, objectionable content being posted or communicated within its marketplace that would seemingly prevent or ban harassment, cultural and religious insensitivity, gender fluidity, etc.

Mercari's 2018 Terms of Service states, "This should be common sense" as it lists off multiple forms of verbal and other conduct that are prohibited, ending with "or otherwise offensive". It then suggests reading it's prohibited conduct rules, so lets take a look at those too.

Mercari's 2018 Prohibited Conduct Policies state that "Posting, uploading or distributing any User Content or other content that is unlawful, defamatory, libelous, inaccurate, or that a REASONABLE PERSON could consider OBJECTIONABLE, profane, indecent, pornographic, HARASSING, threatening, EMBARRASSING, HATEFUL, OFFENSIVE, or OTHERWISE INAPPROPRIATE."

Mercari uses the legal term "Reasonable Person" so lets take a look at how the law defines a "Reasonable Person" 

So what is a "Reasonable Person"?  A standard term having more to due with negligence rather than a community standard, since communities vary greatly from state to state, city to city as to what is reasonable.  For instance, it's reasonable to buy Fireworks in Oklahoma for the Fourth of July that explode and shoot into the sky.  But in different cities within Los Angeles it's not reasonable to even buy ground sitting fireworks that sparkle.  Why is the standard different? Because in Oklahoma, there is mostly grasslands, wide open space, lakes, fields; however in Los Angeles, there are lots of dead trees from summer drought, buildings, little open spaces.  So what is reasonable in Oklahoma could easily be unreasonable in Los Angeles where fireworks are generally illegal.

But in Mercari's situation, it falls into the category of being in a position of higher accountability, a higher standard than a reasonable person. What Mercari USA does, impacts individuals nationally. over 30 Million people were using Mercari app before the website launched at the beginning of 2018.

Find Law website looks at it from the position of Negligent behavior.

So what does Mercari USA's Witch Hat Logo Mean?

Because Mercari is in the position legally of being above the reasonable person legal definition due to its ability to place a Witch Hat unsolicited onto someones phone in a manner that Jews, Muslims, Christians and others of faith would find objectionable, it's possible that Mercari is not only violating its own expectations of set forth in its Terms of Service and Prohibited Conduct Policies required of all users, its possibly open to legal liability if anyone feels strongly enough to pursue it.  After all, despite the Witch hat connection to Harry Potter and Halloween, a witch hat historically represents witchcraft, anti-religion, satanism, the occult, paganism, and even the medieval practice of witch burning and drownings. 

Trending on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Does Mercari USA intend to extend equal priority to other religious symbols during other holidays?

A witch hat is also a religious symbol identifiable to the Wiccan religion, also known as "The Craft", "Wicca", "Benevolent Witchcraft" and the "Old Religion" a diverse and decentralized religion that is part of contemporary paganism and nature spirituality.  Is it reasonable, that Mercari should force its Jewish, Muslim, Christian and others who celebrate religious identification, with a Wiccan symbol over its Logo directly appearing on their phone screens, irremovable unless they delete the app? Would it not be embarrassing for a Jewish person to have their Rabbi find a witch hat on their phone, a Christian have their pastor see it on their phone, a Muslim have their imam khatib see it on their phone.  A reasonable person might think so.

Sure, to many of us, it's probably not a big deal, in fact, it would be less of a big deal if Mercari simply changed its logo on the inside of it's app and website for the week of Halloween where only those shopping or selling would see it. But putting it on a users phone makes it often very public, and for many that could be a problem.

According to the Pew forum statistics, Mercari's Witch Hat Logo could be considered potentially offensive by 84% of America.

According to the Pew Forum Statistics on US National Religion only 16% of Americans identity with a religion or identity that would absolutely take no offense to Mercari's logo.  While Halloween often does get a "pass" by many people of faith, its getting that slide, less often then in past generations.

SellerThink came up with a few more Mercari logo's that Mercari may want to consider using for other holidays, including Ramadan, Hanukkah and Christmas so the it can be an all inclusive marketplace.  I know, it's pretty ridiculous, but many Muslims would not want a Hanukkah or Christmas logo from Mercari anymore than many would want a Wiccan symbol. Many Jewish persons would not want a Muslim, Christian or Wiccan symbol forced on to the front of their phones or tablet.  And many Christians would not want a Wiccan, Jewish or Muslim Mercari logo on their smart phone or tablet.  Last time I checked we were in a period hyper-cultural sensitivity in America, whether it be gender fluidity, racial and ethnic identity, religious inclusion, diversity, tolerance and even the identification of birth nationality.  It just seems Mercari may be on the wrong page with America this year. However, maybe it's SellerThink that has gotten it all wrong, and for that reason, we've created these amazing mock-up logos to help give Mercari ideas for the other three significant holidays.

Here is our Mercari Ramadan Logo!

Here is our Mercari Hanukkah Logo!

Here is our Mercari Christmas Logo
It just seemed appropriate that Mercari might want to be inside of the manger for its Christmas logo, since it's cold outside.

Tells us your thoughts, do you think Mercari's Witch Hat is insensitive to people of faith?
Do you think Mercari should be inclusive and have a logo for all religious holiday's besides just Wicca?
Are religious beliefs outside the boundaries of diversity, inclusion and tollerance?