Gap Pulls ‘Racist’ Ad
File this under: why does this keep happening?
The Gap is the latest company to apologize for and retract an ad that has been criticized as racist. The clothing company pulled a controversial GapKids ad released on April 2 that featured a group of girls from Le Petit Cirque group, a performance group whose members range in age from 5 to 14.
The ad is being called “racist” because it depicts a lone silent Black girl in the midst of a group of vocal and interactive white girls.
Gap intended for the ad to be empowering. It was tweeted out on April 2 with the caption “Meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.” Instead, what many people saw was a white girl propping herself up on a Black girl’s body. Ellen DeGeneres and GapKids partnered for the company’s new active wear line, named GapKids x ED.
Said Gap, in a statement to Fortune magazine: “As a brand with a proud 6-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended.”
Meanwhile, several other companies have released and then retracted questionable ads. Coca-cola apologized for an ad deemed offensive to indigenous people living in Mexico and McDonald’s had to apologize for an ad that mocked mental illness by comparing depression to a Big Mac craving. We’re sure that if you watched TV all day long, or reviewed the last ten years worth of Super Bowl commercials, you could come up with several more.
Le Petit Cirque issued their own statement supporting The Gap, who has since replaced that ad with another from the same photoshoot. And while we’re glad the clothier listened to the Twitterati, the larger question is: why does this keep happening?