Independent California brokerage, Ashby & Graff Real Estate, pressed pause on its five-figure Facebook ad budget in January 2019. Recently, Ashby & Graff got rid of its Facebook business page entirely.
The brokerage released a statement on Monday in response to the death of George Floyd, mentioning “The inequity in housing is but a sliver of the injustices facing minorities in our country, but it is emblematic of the long-lasting impact of programs that were specifically designed to keep a group of people enslaved.”
Ashby & Graff’s CEO John Graff told HousingWire that the principles Facebook had didn’t apply to his company’s values.
“It was really years worth of actions by the social media company that forced us into this position of considering how we’re participating in such a problematic platform,” Graff said. “So, we ultimately decided in January 2019 to stop advertising there completely.”
“Just after more bad stuff recently [came] from Facebook, we just deleted all of our pages,” Graff continued.
Graff noted that he wanted to ensure the company’s actions align with values as responsible corporate citizens, especially given the real estate industry’s historical role in carrying out racist housing policies.
Graff continued to say that his move wasn’t based on politics.
“I don’t think that demanding the truth about the holocaust is political,” Graff said. “I don’t think that demanding black lives be treated with the same respect as white lives is political. I don’t think that insisting that publishers treat facts as facts is political. These are just things that we hope to be self-evident. I don’t think it’s taking a political stand, I think it’s just standing up for what should be basic human values.”
More leaders in the real estate industry need to speak out, Graff said, and particularly white leaders.
“Speak out on this,” Graff said. “We can’t leave it to the few black people who are in the real estate industry to make statements. We have to take that burden off of them and talk to fellow white people about this issue. Especially like I mentioned before, given the real estate industry’s ties to upholding racist housing policies and the lingering effects of those housing policies, it’s really, really important that leaders in this industry not just put out statements, but talk about concrete steps that they’re going to take to change the tone and direction of this conversation.”