Wells Fargo has issued an apology to artists for its advertising campaign promoting its upcoming Teen Financial Education Day. The ads, which implied it is more valuable for young people to pursue a career in the sciences rather than the arts, sparked outrage from the Broadway community on September 3.
Among the raised voices were Alex Brightman, Ann Harada, Cynthia Erivo, Heather Headley and Benj Pasek—who took to Twitter to call out the company directly. “Apparently @WellsFargo doesn’t think that an actor or ballerina require any work at all. Shame!” read Erivo’s tweet.
A representative from Wells Fargo, an American banking and financial services company, issued the following statement to Playbill.com September 4:
“Wells Fargo is deeply committed to the arts, and we offer our sincere apology for the initial ads promoting our September 17 Teen Financial Education Day. They were intended to celebrate all the aspirations of young people and fell short of that goal. We are making changes to the campaign’s creative that better reflect our company’s core value of embracing diversity and inclusion, and our support of the arts. Last year, Wells Fargo’s support of the arts, culture and education totaled $93 million.“
The Wells Fargo campaign in question featured a brochure depicting a young man in a science lab. “An actor yesterday. A botanist today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow,” reads the accompanying text. Another, depicting a young woman in a lab, reads: “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today.”
Broadway artists were quick to express their frustration at the campaign and to defend a career in the arts. “Arts education saved my life and countless others. Artist life is beautiful,” tweeted Andy Mientus.
Wells Fargo also responded on Twitter with an official apology