Charlotte’s Blumenthal Performing Arts has come to the defense of Wells Fargo, following backlash the San Francisco-based bank received for advertisements appearing to bash careers in the arts.
In a statement Wednesday, Blumenthal says it “stands with Wells Fargo,” which was already set to receive Blumenthal’s inaugural Business Leaders for the Arts Award next week. Blumenthal said the criticism Wells Fargo has received for its the ads “is unfortunate and unwarranted.”
On Saturday, Wells Fargo issued an apology on social media for the ads promoting its upcoming Teen Financial Education Day.
“A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow,” reads one of the print ads.
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“An actor yesterday. A botanist today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow,” reads another ad.
The ads have attracted complaints on social media, including from prominent artists such as “Frozen” songwriter Robert Lopez, singer Josh Groban and “Glee” actress Jenna Ushkowitz.
In its statement, Blumenthal says Wells Fargo “has proven to be deeply committed to arts education, access to arts and culture for all citizens.” For example, the bank is the founding sponsor of Blumenthal’s High School Musical Theater Awards, The Blumey Awards, Blumenthal noted.
“Their support of excellence has nurtured talented performers whom we celebrate. It has also nurtured business leaders, educators and others who are making our community better,” Blumenthal said.
The ads have also upset some of the bank’s customers.
Felix Gooding, who lives outside of Austin, Texas, told the Observer Wednesday that his daughter, who is majoring in dance and musical theater and has a Wells Fargo account, was furious over the ads.
“I want to pull it,” Gooding said of the account.
“I'm a high school (guidance) counselor), and I look at every career equally,” he said. “I was so upset.”
In its apology, Wells Fargo said the ad campaign “fell short” of its intended goal. Wells Fargo has also pointed out its support of the arts, culture and education totaled $93 million last year, including about $2 million in Charlotte.