A Belgian chocolate maker has changed its name from "ISIS Chocolates" to “Libeert,” to avoid an inadvertent association with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, media reports said Thursday. The transition to the new name will reportedly take until January 2015, the company's director reportedly said.
Sales dropped after media coverage of the Islamic State group intensified, Director Ignace Libeert said, according to SBS news. The company reportedly said that it did not know of the militant group when it changed the name to ISIS in 2013. The company was previously called “Italo Suisse,” but became "ISIS" because it no longer had an association with either Italy or Switzerland. The Islamic State group, which was formerly a part of al Qaeda, gained prominence as an independent entity in early 2014.
"It has (made) quite an impact (on our business). It's very difficult to say how much (the cost has been) because we didn't get the orders, but we have an estimation for about two, three million euros, which is quite a number," Libeert reportedly said. "We had international customers saying that they could no longer stock our chocolate as consumers had only negative associations with the name.”
The company was named ISIS as "that was the brand name of our pralines and tablets," marketing manager Desiree Libeert told Reuters on Thursday.
The chocolate company, which was formed in 1923, makes more than 5,000 tons of chocolate each year, with a turnover of about $44.17 million. It reportedly said that chocolate bars bearing the name “ISIS” had already reached the market for the holiday season, but the company is now preparing to produce chocolates with the new name for Easter.
In August, an online petition was filed by nearly 38,000 people named Isis, urging the media to stop referring to the militant group with this name. In June, the group changed its name from ISIS to Islamic State.
The family of an 8-year-old girl named Isis in Australia complained last month that they are being discriminated against because of the name’s link to the Islamic State group, SBS News reported.
“We stand in solidarity against these terrorists and as individuals we can't do anything to stop them. We are to trust our leaders to unite and eradicate this group,” the petition read. “Little girls, especially in the United States named Isis have reported bullying while women with the name are facing negative associations through their employment and in public places like airports, airplanes even at times being called terrorists themselves.”