The president of the retailer Hobby Lobby said the Oklahoma-based chain will carry Hanukkah items in its stores near areas with large Jewish populations.
Steve Green made the commitment in an interview Friday with the Associated Press. He said the items will be in stores in New York and New Jersey by November.
Green called blogger Ken Berwitz, who started the anti-Hobby Lobby backlash with a blog post last week, saying he would never visit the retailer again, after being told “We don’t cater to you people here” during a call to a New Jersey Hobby Lobby store in which he inquired whether the store would be carrying Hanukkah items.”
The two spoke for about 15 minutes, according to the AP, and Berwitz called the conversation “pleasant” and said the situation should be “defused.”
In a statement published Thursday on the ADL’s website, Green apologized for the alleged remark and indicated that his company has “deep respect for the Jewish faith.” The statement made clear that the owners “do not tolerate discrimination at the company or our stores.”
The ADL also issued a statement saying that the organization “has no reason to believe that Hobby Lobby has refused to stock Hanukkah items because of hostility to Jews or anti-Semitism.”
“A store choosing not to carry Hanukkah items does not violate anyone’s rights,” the organization added.
Hobby Lobby had issued a Facebook post Wednesday over the controversy in which it said it was “working with our buyers over our merchandise selection. Our customers have brought this to our attention, and we are currently evaluating our holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”