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Saskatchewan Roughriders apologize to fans for 'Girl Math' marketing campaign ad

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders apologized Wednesday for issuing an email to season-ticket holders that resulted in a backlash from fans.

In the email to season-ticket holders entitled, "Girl Math is When Cheaper Tickets = Free Drinks!", the marketing campaign featured an ad that in part read, "Proficient in girl math it's basically free."

It also includes the phrases, "Literally the best excuse for cute matching outfits," and "Take the stairs. Earn the seltzers."

Some Riders fans, many women, suggested the ad promoted negative stereotypes and hinted at body-shaming and toxic diet culture. The campaign was also criticized as being patronizing and demeaning to women.

One fan posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: "What are you thinking?! This is abhorrent, disrespectful, misogynistic and disgusting. Full retraction, fire whoever did this and do some heavy-duty trust rebuilding cuz you have lost this lifelong fan."

Another posted: "Do better! There is no place for misogynistic ads! Shame on you!"

The Roughriders issued a statement Wednesday apologizing for the contents of the ad.

"(On Tuesday) the Saskatchewan Roughrider sent an email to members of the fan base that missed the mark," Jacqueline Hurlbert, the Riders' director of marketing, said in the statement. "(On Wednesday) we emailed them again unequivocally apologizing for it.

"The Roughriders' staff is made up of 50 per cent women, and the 'girl math' email was imagined, developed and deployed by women within our marketing team, but we heard from our female fans that this message did not resonate with them. We will use this as a learning opportunity to be better in the future.

"We value contributions from women in our fan base, in football, and in our community and thank them for their guidance and feedback."

Girl math is a reference often seen on Tik Tok, a social media outlet.

It's used to describe accounting decisions that don't add up in terms of the bottom line.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2024.

The Canadian Press