UN Pulls "Isis" From Hurricane Name List, Because "Hurricane ISIS" Definitely Shouldn't Ever Be A Thing
After many months of increasing publicity about the horrific acts of the Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS, the United Nations has finally been forced to take action — but not in the way you might think. Apparently, up until now, the name "Isis" has had a spot on the official list of hurricane names, the same list that brought you Ingrid, Sandy, and Gustav. But today, the U.N. pulled "Isis" from its list of names for potential hurricanes, the organization reported.
Claire Nullis, spokesperson for the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, said it's not unusual for a name to be retired — they are regularly taken off the table if a previous hurricane with the same name caused too much damage and devastation to be reused appropriately. The name Isis was one of several removed from the list this year, but it wasn't taken off for the common reason — it was removed because of its association with ISIS. Nullis told TIME:
There was consensus on this. These sorts of decisions are always taken by consensus, there is never a vote.
There will not be a blank space on the list after Isis' retirement: the name will be replaced with "Ivette," which also starts with I and is not currently also the name of a world-infamous terrorist organization.
The U.N. isn't the first to face this tricky problem of renaming in recent years. After ISIS garnered more worldwide attention in 2014, with a year of devastating terrorist abductions, attacks, and murders, many companies and programs have been forced to adapt. Some have faced a drop in sales or even public anger for using the name. And though they have faced increased negative attention, some of these companies have decided not to give up their name because of an unfortunate coincidence. Here are five of those who have had to make the tough decision recently.
For years, characters on the popular animated FX series were spies for an underground intelligence agency called ISIS. But when the show returned for a sixth season in January 2015, Archer and co. had been transferred to the CIA. The show's creator, Adam Reed, told The Daily Beast:
We got sort of lucky and could organically make a merger with the CIA, so we went back and retroactively painted out the ISIS logos in parts of the show, and we just don’t talk about it in dialogue.
The chocolate company changed their name from ISIS to Libeert in November 2014, after their sales took a plunge because of association with the terrorist group.
The American mobile wallet platform, backed by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, was forced to rebrand in September 2014 after their original name — you guessed it, Isis — became a tough selling point. Michael Abbott, the CEO of Isis/Softcard, said the name change would not affect any quality of the product:
However coincidental, we have no desire to share a name with this group and our hearts go out to those affected by this violence.
In more unfortunate news for the company, they were sadly eliminated from the market in March when Google announced that Google Wallet would be preloaded onto new Android phones.
The pharmaceutical company decided not to change their name because they were not worried about any mix-up. A spokesperson for the company, Amy Blackwell, told Bloomberg:
It is, of course, an unfortunate twist of fate that an al-Qaeda offshoot is referred to by an acronym that matches our company name … [but] our company name is not associated with a retail consumer market. Physicians and medical staff we work with know us very well, and are not confused by the recent news regarding the terrorist group in Iraq.
The lingerie company faced pressure after they released a new line of lingerie in August 2014 under the name Isis, but they refused to change the title of the underwear line. Their inspiration came from the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was a magical healer and role model for women. An Ann Summers employee told The Independent in August:
We thought up the name over six months ago. It wasn’t until all the PR was done for the portfolio when the name meant something else. It was too late to change it.
A spokesperson for the company told The Independent:
Range names for our products are chosen far in advance of the collections landing in-stores and online. In this instance, the inspiration behind this range name was taken from the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis.
We acknowledge the unfortunate timing of this product launch in our store windows, however we in no way support or condone any act of terrorism or violence. We apologise for any offence caused.
Images: Giphy (1), Ann Summers (1), Getty Images (3)