DISH is set to rename its flagship dishwasher after an African American woman who died of leukemia in a Detroit hospital.
Dish washing machines will have the name “Mack” when they hit the market this summer, the company said Monday in a statement.
The dishwasher has long been known for its controversial appearance, with critics saying it made the dishwasher smell bad and was linked to cancer.
The company’s chief executive, Brian Friel, was among those who questioned the decision to rename the dishwashing machine after Black woman Tanya “Mackle” Smith, who died from leukemia in December 2013.
In a letter to the press on Monday, Friel said he believed it was “a mistake” to rename Mack the dishwasher.
Friel said in his letter that he did not agree with the name change and did not think it was appropriate to rename a product that has become a rallying cry for those who believe in racial equality.
Fiel said in the letter that while he was proud of the company’s achievements, he felt the company had “an opportunity to show leadership in supporting our diverse workforce.”
“I am deeply saddened that we are forced to change this name,” Friel wrote.
Dishes have long been seen as a symbol of privilege, with the dish being seen as representing the privileged, while Black people were often called the “black” or “black-on-black” dish.
In the letter, Fiel called the name a “mistake,” saying he was “disappointed” with the decision and did “not agree” with it.
Fellor said he is now considering a legal challenge to the change, and will share the information with the company and its customers.DISH has been the target of a boycott by some Black customers and a petition demanding the company change its name has garnered nearly 7,000 signatures since it was launched in 2009.
Danish brand H&M also changed its name to reflect the controversy.