This Zoo Just Committed A Major Faux-Pas Against Redheads

As the old adage goes, “The best things in life are free.” Apparently, The Twycross Zoo in England agrees, and decided to celebrate a special holiday by allowing redheads gratis entrance to the park. What holiday, you ask, and why only redheads? That would be World Orangutan Day, and because their auburn hair resembles that of the animal being honored, of course! Yeah, take a minute to let that one sink in.

In a statement to The Coventry Telegraph, the zoo's spokesperson said, “On Friday, August 19, we will be letting anyone with red hair in for free — male, female, adult, child; strawberry blonde, auburn, fiery red, natural or dyed — it doesn’t matter.” Ahh, make it stop! The spokesperson added, “As long as you have red hair, you can enjoy a free day out at Twycross Zoo! Our staff in the ticket booths will be issued with our special Twycross Zoo redheaded colour scale, too, just to make sure.” Sure, the (very) generous read would be that this statement is wonderfully inclusive of all redheads, but most of us can understand how this is hugely problematic and discriminatory. By using this holiday to offer this freebie, however inadvertently, the zoo compares redheads to apes. And while we love apes and, like all humans, have a lot in common with them genetically, it's a bit insulting.

To our surprise, there are seriously mixed emotions from the public about it. The Telegraph reported the zoo's event and created a poll to see what people really thought about the offer. Out of 212 votes, 85% of people said it’s “harmless fun for a good cause,” and only 15% said it was hurtful.
The Coventry Telegraph recently updated its original story on the zoo's celebration with reader reactions, Allure reports. One reader wrote, “On one level, it's a clear case of discrimination against people who do not have red hair and is therefore illegal. On the other hand, they are equating people with red hair to orangutans and it's discriminatory. Take your pick.” Another commented,“I can’t figure out if this is good or insulting.”

But over here across the pond, we're shocked. It's not the first time marketing practices in the U.K. have come under fire, either. Recently, a Match.com ad in London sparked anger after the poster claimed that freckles and red hair were "imperfections." Unfortunately, there's an overwhelming amount of ginger-shaming in the region, but with both a Ginger Pride Festival and Redhead Day celebration to counteract it, you'd think The Twycross Zoo would know to proceed with caution.

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