National Association of Realtors logo and a Pride parade

NAR ‘stands by’ Pride post as it cuts all comments 

“This was more than simply a social media post,” said the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance president, calling for “proactive actions” and ethics code enforcement.

June 14, 2024
4 minutes

Key points:

  • A June 1 post on NAR’s Instagram account celebrating Pride Month received hundreds of negative comments.
  • Anita Legacy Blue, president of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, called on NAR to file ethics complaints against Realtors who posted discriminatory comments.
  • On June 14, NAR president Kevin Sears said the organization had deleted comments with “overt hate,” but ultimately decided to remove comments altogether.

The scenario is all too familiar: A Pride post in social media, meant to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and support the rights of all regardless of sexual orientation, triggers a backlash.

From the National Association of Realtors to the Navy SEALs, this dynamic is playing out with increasing frequency this June. And it's not just happening on social media: Target tiptoed into its Pride collection, and Bud Light continues to feel the impact of its 2023 campaign with a transgender influencer.

Negative comments come with the territory anywhere comments exist, but the stakes are different when they come from Realtors who must abide by a Code of Ethics — on an Instagram post made by the organization that created that code to protect a brand built on integrity.

"I've never seen so much hate against my community in such a short amount of time. I was saddened, disappointed and hurt that Realtors, who are supposed to uphold a higher standard of professionalism, would say such hateful things," wrote Anita Legacy Blue, president of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, in a letter sent to NAR President Kevin Sears on June 10.

Blue asked NAR to:

  • Hide or remove comments that are discriminatory or include personal attacks

  • File ethics complaints against Realtors who posted such comments

  • Publicly denounce hatred against the LGBTQ+ community and "all other marginalized groups"

  • Provide funds to allow Realtor associations to use the Alliance Certified Ally program 

"We have already certified nearly 4,000 real estate professionals including those in NAR's leadership. We clearly need to reach even more," Blue said.

NAR 'stands by its post' but removes all comments

Sears replied to that letter on Friday. "NAR stands by its post," he wrote. "We were heartened to see so many of our members showing up in support of our post and members of the LGBTQ+ community more broadly."

But the organization decided to turn off comments for the post, which removes all comments, including those that support Pride.

"Many of the comments also contained supportive rebuttals, which enabled discussion about how Pride Month is indeed linked to our profession," Sears said. "However, given the continued inflammatory nature of some of the comments, they will now be turned off."

Before making this move, Sears said NAR monitored the comment section "around the clock, and all comments with profanity epithets and overt hate were removed." NAR also deleted comments that "potentially violate the code of conduct that could be in violation of the Member Code of Conduct and submitted to NAR's Member Accountability Committee for further investigation," Sears wrote.

However, as late as June 14, comments on the post still included religious admonitions against Pride and statements such as: "Yay let's all share what we like in the bedroom and what's in our pants because that has everything to do with real estate right?!"

The path forward

So now what? Removing comments doesn't remove the motivation behind them, and that's what remains a concern for Blue.

"This was more than a social media post," she said. "The recent escalation in overt discrimination toward the LGBTQ+ community, particularly the culture so many Realtors subscribe to, must change. That change will require new ideas, new strategies, and proactive actions on the part of the National Association of Realtors."

NAR, for its part, said in a statement to Real Estate News on Friday that it had "submitted flagrant commenters' posts to its Member Accountability Committee for further investigation," communicated to members how to file an ethics complaint and is working with state and local associations on Realtor Code of Ethics enforcement.

The organization also stated that "commitment to equal treatment and access to housing for all remains steadfast. Our advocacy and member training to root out bias and discrimination in our industry isn't contained to one month in a year. NAR fights year-round, day after day, for equal access to housing."

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