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eBay: Lesbians and Gays still not couples in France

Except in emails sent out to media outlets by a corporate blogger.  I would hope the parent company would jump right in and fix what in corporatespeak must surely be just a misunderstanding. Oh, and actually update the contest rules rather than simply sending out a media memo.  Then again, it makes me wonder how much Meg Whitman permeated the higher corporate culture while at the helm.

From Wednesday, Oct. 20th:

The French eBay website has been accused of discrimination after it  stated that a competition prize could only be won by a heterosexual  couple.   The auction website is offering two people the chance to live  rent-free in a 50m² central Paris apartment for a year to celebrate its  tenth anniversary in France. The winners will be given 8,000 Euros and ten weeks to kit out the unfurnished flat with items from eBay.

However, the rules state: “The game is open to any couple composed of a male adult and a female adult.”

When asked, eBay said in a statement to Le Post:

“We are looking for people who are representative of the range of products sold on eBay.  We apologise if the gay community feels left out, but we have done nothing wrong.  We did not draw up the rules thinking ‘absolutely no homosexuals’; Sexuality never entered into our thinking.   We have quite a large vision of what counts as a couple: a mother  and son could count. The only constraint is that the apartment only has  one bedroom.”

(from:… )

UPDATE: According to , and others, after a couple of days and growing publicity, ebay finally stopped defending the contest and sent out the following from Richard Brewer-Hay, “a Chief Corporate Blogger with eBay,”

“At eBay, we are sensitive to the diversity of our employees and customers. The competition, run by eBay in France, invited couples, comprising a man and a woman – irrespective of their sexual orientation or relationship, to live temporarily in an eBay apartment. It was intended to attract couples who would buy the broadest selection of goods on eBay from women’s shoes to electronic gadgets. However, after careful reflection, we realise that the definition of man and woman couple was too narrow as couples of the same sex could, of course, buy in such a broad and varied manner online.

   eBay deeply regrets having offended members of our community, and as a result has clarified the rules of the competition so that it is open to any couple of any gender.

Funny, as of 12:21 am Saturday, the official rules still seem to read,


Le jeu est ouvert à toute équipe composée d’une personne physique majeure de sexe masculin et une personne physique majeure de sexe féminin, résidant en France Métropolitaine (Corse incluse) quelque soit sa nationalité répondant aux conditions suivantes

The contest is open to any team consisting of one physically male person and one physically female  person, residing in metropolitan France (including Corsica) of any nationality under the following conditions:

Official rules:…

Translated by the Google machine:…

(The controversy mentioned above of course doesn’t even entertain the idea that intersex people exist)

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