Shuttle advertisement called 'racist', 'bigoted'

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URBANA, Ill. (WAND): A bus service is facing backlash after a controversial advertisement.

Suburban Express released an advertisement listing reasons people should choose their bus services. One of the reasons said, "Passengers like you.You won't feel like you're in China when you're on our buses."

"When I first read it, I was just dumbfounded," Joey Domanski, University of Illinois Student Government Vice President, says. "At first I thought it was like a very gross, like, parody picture and then I realized that it was real and I was at a loss for words, I just had no idea what to say."

U of I has a large international student presence, many of them from Asian countries.

"There is a large presence here but I'm not sure what that matters," Domanski says. "At some point we, not just as a community but as a society, need to take a good look at ourselves and we need to decide if we are going to continue going backwards or if we are going to start going forwards."

The bus company issued an apology saying, "we did not intend to offend half the planet."

"It was not an apology, that is not the definition of an apology," Domanski says. "If anything, it just made the whole situation worse."

The CEO of the company then sent out another apology.

U of I released a statement saying, "racist and bigoted statements attacking any members of our community deserve nothing but condemnation."

"For them to do quick action I think shows really on the university's part that they're willing to stand up for all students," Domanski says. "Not just students who were born in the United States but everyone who roams the halls."

Students also complained about a web page on the Suburban Express site called the "Page of Shame." It has since been deleted.

It listed names and addresses of riders who Suburban Express says cheated them by re-using tickets or not paying the right fare.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has subpoenaed records to determine if the company has violated the Illinois Human Rights Act.

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