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Montreal's Ritz-Carlton Says It Made A Mistake In Its Instagram Post

The hotel says it should have put a cap on the number of donations.

Montreal's Ritz-Carlton Hotel has been under fire on Instagram for the past few days because of a viral post that promised to donate one toy to children of the CHU Sainte-Justine for every share it received. The post, which has since been edited to remove the "one toy per share," was shared over a million times. 

Katia Piccolino, spokesperson for the Ritz-Carlton Montreal told MTL Blog that in hindsight, it's clear the wording on the post was a mistake. 

She said the hotel should have put a cap on the number of toys it would donate in the post, explaining that they never expected the post to go so viral.

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For the Ritz-Carlton, the intention was always pure, said Piccolino. 

"The problem is that people are looking at it as one share equals one toy so I get where the frustration lies," she explained.

"Even if we had a million toys, they don't need a million toys — they need a million dollars in donations." 

The hotel is still committed to donating toys for the children of Sainte-Justine.

Jade Gratton, a spokesperson for the Fondation CHU Sainte-Justine told MTL Blog that it was unaware that the Ritz-Carlton would make the one-toy-for-one-share promise in its Instagram post. 

"We were aware that the Ritz-Carlton team was interested in getting toys to the children of Sainte-Justine for the holidays. Unfortunately, we were not informed of their Instagram post asking the community to share the Tree of Lights video in exchange for toy donations," Gratton said.

"An initiative of this nature must be planned carefully and collaboratively in advance to ensure that the needs of Sainte-Justine are met and to honour our commitments to our other partners."

"Accordingly," Gratton continued, "out of respect for our partners, and in an effort to ensure compliance with public health protocols and the needs of Sainte-Justine, we contacted the Ritz-Carlton, asking them to change their post and to stop publicizing their offer."

Montreal's Ritz-Carlton has been working with the foundation for six years, hosting holiday events and fundraising drives, according to Piccolino, who was appalled by responses accusing the Ritz-Carlton of running a marketing scheme.  

"If our platform can benefit [Sainte-Justine] by getting more people on their site, that's the silver lining," she said.