When Rhonda Moore saw the advertisement for a student loan refinancing business that featured what she thought was a stereotypically dishonest Jewish banker, she was frightened.
In the advertisement for the business SoFi, a young couple is hassled by a chubby, balding middle-aged man who searches through the woman’s handbag for cash before kissing and stealing a stack of money.
The man is seen afterward hoarding their dinner at a restaurant, stealing their blankets in bed, and using their sink to brush his teeth, is shown sporting glasses, a gold watch, and a tweed jacket.
Moore, a real estate appraiser in Ottawa, Canada, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I know what that says to [a] non-Jew like me.
“Refinance with us, and don’t let Jews steal your money,” it says.
The character was designed to fit the stereotype of a professor, not that, according to the ad’s makers.
But after a JTA investigation sparked by Moore’s inquiries, the business announced Wednesday that it would yank the advertisement.
According to a statement from SoFi to JTA, “out of an excess of caution, considering the recent rise in antisemitism, we are attempting to take down this advertisement as soon as possible.”
The company’s in-house creative team created the advertisement, which has been airing since late October, including on CNN, where Moore first saw it.
People angry that the ad showed an interracial pair had complained to SoFi, according to the company, in “a handful” of cases.
Before a commercial airs, the corporation screens them for “cultural problems,” but this one did not, according to the company.
The statement stated, “SoFi is committed to combating prejudice and racism in any form and will not participate in perpetuating any harmful stereotypes, even if wholly unintended.”
The online lender, established in 2011, has risen to the top of the student loan refinancing industry.
According to reports, the organization has 4.7 million “members,” and it just announced quarterly revenue of $424 million, an increase of more than 50% over the same period last year.
Moore expressed his happiness that perhaps one individual could make a difference in response to the news that SoFi had removed the advertisement.
An advertisement like that should never be permitted to air anywhere for any reason.