‘Wish your head were cut off’: Kiwi firm Isis Financial Services renamed after bullying

ISIS fighters (© Stringer/Reuters) and Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis. © Wikipedia/Directmedia/GmbH
After months of stubborn resistance, a New Zealand business owner changed the name of her consultancy firm so it doesn’t contain the word ‘Isis’. She said she couldn’t stand strangers wishing her head was cut off.

Tauranga-based Isis Financial Services has been in business since 2004. But after the rise of the jihadist terror group ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the firm became one of dozens to find their brand marred by the association.

Owner Lisa Hotton, who named the business after the Ancient Egyptian goddess of nature and magic, remained adamant that she would keep it. But after months of sticking to the old identity she finally gave up, she told the New Zealand Herald.

"I didn't expect to get messages from people saying 'how could you?' and 'I hope you get your head chopped off'," she said. "It shows there's a few ignorant people out there."

Now named Bay Debt Services Ltd., the firm is keeping the logo with the goddess Isis, the newspaper said.

READ MORE: ‘Brand suicide’: Companies sharing name with ISIS forced to rebrand

Rise of ISIS, which has since renamed itself Islamic State, forced many firms throughout the world into rebranding. Among them were a US fashion magazine, a mobile wallet service founded by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, a brand of lingerie, and even a hardcore metal band. Popular animated comedy series Archer had its fictional spy agency ISIS renamed. There is even an Isis Martinez, a Miami alternative medicine provider, who complained that her first name made some people uncomfortable.

The naming issue for the jihadist group is a bit complicated as well. Its former name was abbreviation of Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, with an alternative variant ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) also valid. Now it pretends to be the one and only caliphate of the Islamic world.

Some of its foes call for the adoption of the word ‘Daesh’, which is the acronym for its full former name in Arabic and is considered derogatory by many Muslims. Among the advocates of such a ‘brand attack’ are US State Secretary John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.