ISIS Pharmaceuticals announced Friday it will be bowing to terrorists by changing its name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals to disassociate itself from Islamic State (also known as ISIS). Ionis is unfortunately not the only victim of being associated with the terror group, as many organizations have changed their names in order to avoid confusion with the radical Islamic terror group.
Ionis’ decision is understandable, especially given the publicly-traded company appears as “ISIS” on stock exchange tickers; not exactly an attractive target for potential investors.
“Our goal is to create medicines that will save patients’ lives, and we are proud to be at the forefront of creating innovative medicines. We decided to change our company name because, when people see or hear our name, we want them to think about the life-saving medicines we are developing,” says Ionis chief operating officer Lynne Parshall in an official statement.
Quite a few organizations have made the switch since the group rose to prominence in the last two years. From software companies to television shows, the word ISIS has become a pariah across the globe. Here are a few other organizations that have ditched the name:
Libeert (Belgian Chocolate Company)
A Belgian chocolate company that has been in business since 1923 had probably the worst timing in its existence after changing its name to ISIS in 2014, just as Islamic State was rising. After less than a year with the name, the company quickly changed it.
Bess Nails and Spa
Formerly known as ISIS nails, this business in New York City saw a 30 percent drop in revenue and received harassment. “Before we changed the name, we had a lot of people taking pics and coming to harass me,” says owner Charlene Tse to the New York Post, “they said, ‘You have no shame! Don’t you know what happened, they cut off people’s heads!’”
Archer (TV Series)
The popular animated television series “Archer” is centered around the “International Secret Intelligence Service,” a fictional espionage agency. Though the show first aired in 2009, the producers bowed to the terrorists and wrote the agency out of the series, even pulling merchandise with the ISIS moniker from stores.
Downton Abbey (TV Series)
Downton Abbey has been arguably the most popular television series to air on PBS since Sesame Street, but it too fell victim to ISIS when the protagonist family’s dog was unfortunate enough to share the name with the terror group. The dog was killed off in the story around the same time ISIS began to make headlines, yet it was claimed to be purely coincidence.
An unfortunate amount of children have been named ISIS both before and during the rise of the terror group. The popularity of the name surged in the 1990s and 2000s, with a peak of 560 babies given the name in 2005.
There is one organization that has refused to give into Islamic State: the Institute for Science and International Security, a think-tank group which has used the name since 1993 when many Islamic State fighters were still in diapers. Instead of changing its name, the organization decided to make the best of an unfortunate situation and changed its Twitter handle to @TheGoodISIS.
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