Posted by: Yvette
Dunkin’ Donuts has apologized for a Thailand chocolate doughnut ad campaign which featured a woman in blackface. After the chain came under fire for the ad that some called racist, the doughnut franchise apologized for the “insensitive” campaign.
The Dunkin’ Donuts chief in Thailand initially defended the controversial ad, but a spokesperson headquartered in the U.S. offered an apology.
“We are working with our Thailand franchisee to immediately pull the ad. DD recognizes the insensitivity of this spot,” Dunkin’ Donuts tweeted.
The offending ad campaign was initiated to promote its “Charcoal Donut”, but the ad showing a woman smiling while covered in blackface make-up and wearing bright pink lipstick sparked outrage. Critics of the ad say it hearkens back to Black stereotypes of the 19th and 20th century and traffics in racist symbolism.
Human Rights Watch said it was floored to learn that such a major brand had launched a blackface ad campaign.
“It’s both bizarre and racist that Dunkin’ Donuts thinks that it must color a woman’s skin black and accentuate her lips with bright pink lipstick to sell a chocolate doughnut,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, according to the Christian Science Monitor. “Dunkin’ Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it’s offended and ensure this never happens again.”
The comment hasn’t bothered many people in Thailand however, since it is common there to use racial stereotypes in advertising.
Prior to the U.S. chief apologizing, the Thailand CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts had dismissed the criticism.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” the CEO Nadim Salhani said in a telephone interview. “We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?”
Thailand is a country that still openly advertises skin lightening cream on the basis that lighter skinned people have better jobs, so it may be awhile before the culture in that country fully understands racist symbolism.