BOSTON (CN) – Two men claim in a federal complaint that they were horrified on the eve of their wedding to find that Vistaprint had mailed them religious pamphlets instead of customized programs they had ordered.
“Vistaprint’s conduct was not only heinous and despicable, but also was unlawful,” the complaint states.
Attorneys at the Boston firm Cetrulo and the Manhattan firm Wigdor brought the Jan. 16 action on behalf of Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg.
Though Heasley and Borg live in Australia, they tied the knot last year somewhere near Butler County, Pennsylvania, and sued Vistaprint in Boston, based on the company’s headquarters in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
On Sept. 22, 2017, one day before their wedding, Heasley and Borg received a box from Vistaprint that was supposed to contain 100 copies of their wedding program. What they found instead were 80 copies of a pamphlet titled “Understanding Temptation: Fight the good fight of faith.”
“The pamphlets – plainly sent to threaten and attack Mr. Heasley and Mr. Borg because they are gay – warn,” according to the complaint, “that ‘Satan entices your flesh with evil desires’ and ‘sin is the result of your failure to resist the temptation. It is an act of rebellion against God’s holiness.”
Vistaprint has begun an internal investigation into the mailing, saying a third party fulfilled the orders here and sent the pamphlets to the wrong address.
“We want to say how incredibly saddened we are to hear this story,” Vistaprint CEO Trynka Shineman said in a statement. “To know that any person could be treated in such a way especially during a time that should be filled with joy is extremely disheartening. Imagine a customer who took the time to create something personal to mark this special day and instead, the day before their wedding, goes to open their wedding programs and finds these judgmental messages. We have never been more disappointed to let a customer down.”
Though Heasley and Borg say “they were clearly targeted,” Vistaprint spokeswoman Sara Nash said the company is committed to equality.
“We share in this couple’s outrage,” she wrote. “Vistaprint in no way condones – and does not tolerate – discrimination against any of our customers based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We have encouraged members of the LGBTQ community to use our services to help celebrate their life events for many years, and have published thousands of wedding invitations, programs and other content for same sex couples.”
Heasley and Borg say that the discovery left them devastated and that they had to print new programs at an additional cost.
“Rather than send Plaintiffs the custom wedding programs they had purchased, Vistaprint instead sent Plaintiffs literature with hateful, discriminatory and anti-gay messages equating their relationship to Satan’s temptation,” the complaint states.
The couple is represented by Cetrulo attorney Elizabeth Dillon and Wigdor attorney David Gottlieb.