Bathurst Real Estate has taken accountability and apologised for an offensive blog post that appeared on its website and spread like wildfire on social media over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, a link to an article titled 'Buying as a single lady' was posted on the Bathurst Real Estate Facebook page.
The article, which one Facebook user branded "so misogynistic it's almost comical", labelled women as "well known for reasoning with their hearts, not their heads" and said they love to "nest".
It went on to say "This triple combination can end in a big back slide when it comes to house hunting, especially when there's no man beside you to offer logic to the situation".
The post was deleted on Sunday and the article removed from the Bathurst Real Estate website, but not before it was screenshot and shared around Facebook hundreds of times.
Understandably, people were outraged by the content and Bathurst Real Estate owner Stacey Whittaker said she and her husband, Michael, were as well.
"We're not wanting to shift the blame, we take full accountability for what is on our page; it's our brand, it's our responsibility," she said.
"But as soon as it came to our attention it was there, it was removed as quickly as humanly possible and we are sorry it has offended people.
"We were offended by it and we're disgusted by it as well, it's unacceptable and it's certainly not the views of Michael, myself or any of our staff members."
Mrs Whittaker explained that, as Bathurst Real Estate is a small independent business, it has to outsource content for its blog posts and those are uploaded to the website by a third party.
"They upload it direct to our website, Mick and I don't see it, we don't approve it, because normally, traditionally, [the articles are] just the normal real estate blog content," she said.
Similarly, posts on its Facebook page are often scheduled by a separate company.
Mrs Whittaker said the Facebook post about single women buying property was one scheduled by this company, not her or her staff.
The Whittakers are currently away from Bathurst helping their daughter move for university and were out of contact with their staff.
Mrs Whittaker said that once she found out about the post, she removed it from the Facebook page and asked for the website developer to remove the blog post from the website.
She was also the one to pen the apology posts, which were later removed - along with the entire Bathurst Real Estate Facebook page - due to backlash.
She said she wished she was in a better frame of mind when she wrote the apology.
"I would liked to have sat down and taken a moment, cleared my head, and typed up something beautiful from my desktop computer, but unfortunately I didn't have that option," Mrs Whittaker said.
"I typed an apology from my phone, which at the best of times I struggle with reading what I'm writing anyway - and you know what, I was emotional because I was distraught and distressed with what had been written and upset.
"We're not here to be upsetting people, that's not our job. Our job is to be looking after people's real estate needs, that's our main interest, and it's also looking out for our staff's mental health."
She said most people accepted the apology and were prepared to move on, but there were some who weren't and started attacking other commenters.
"That was turning into bigger than Ben-Hur, so I said to Mick 'I'm going to take this down, because it's causing more angst than the original post'," she said.
Mrs Whittaker said there were other real estate agencies who had the same article on their websites, but it was just unfortunate that it was the one from their website that got posted to Facebook.
Bathurst Real Estate has severed ties with the producers of the blog post and have also reached out to the company that manages its social media presence to discuss the Facebook post.
Mrs Whittaker said her agency accepted responsibility for what appeared on the website and hopes to move on from the matter so it can continue to support its clients and the community.
"I am for empowering women, that article is so far from the truth and our morals and our beliefs that it is not funny," Mrs Whittaker said.
"We are sorry. We have taken accountability."
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