Citibank says Web site not so 'Fabulis'

Posted on 25 Feb 2010 at 6:26pm

The Advocate.com is reporting that Citibank may be in some hot water after someone at the bank shut down, without notice, the business checking account of a new online gay social networking and travel site, Fabulis.com, before the site even went online. Bank employees reportedly told Fabulis founder Jason Goldberg that the account had been frozen due to the “objectionable content” on the site’s blog, which was operating prior to the site’s launch.

What was the objectionable content? Mainly photos of men in hoodies printed with the word “Fabulis.” As Advocate.com reports: Two other bank representatives said Fabulis’s content was not in line with Citibank’s standards and the banking relationship would be terminated — even though the pre-launch blog features no sex, nudity, or violence.”

Of course, once somebody started complaining, someone else from Citibank called Goldberg — who by the way is also the founder of Jobster.com — to apologize most profusely and to assure him that whoever told him there was a problem with the site’s content was just wrong. The bank even issued a statement today saying it had to do with a tecnical error and some incomplete paperwork and everything is fine now and Goldberg is a valuable customer, etc.

Richard Socarides, former LGBT advisor to President Clinton who is also a Fabulis board member, surmised that perhaps some people at the bank couldn’t handle the videos by young LGBT people talking about coming out and living as out LGBT people.  (He said the videos had been sent in as part of a contest asking people to talk about their lives, and maybe it was all just too “jarring” for some at Citibank.)

Socarides also noted that Citibank has a good record on LGBT issues nad has consistently received a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. But, he added, “if the frontline customer service people at the bank are not educated on these [gay-inclusive] policies, it doesn’t do anyone good.”

It all sounds, as Socarides said, rather “fishy.”

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