Dunkin’ Donuts Blackface Advert, Was It Racist?

Dunkin’ Donuts have found themselves in hot water after they released an advert in Thailand showing a woman in complete black face makeup. The new advertising campaign is to promote a new chocolate flavored Dunkin’ Donut.

The company came under fire late last week after Human Rights Watch criticized the ads for being: “Bizarre and racist.”

At first Dunkin’ Donuts chief executive in Thailand defended the adverts. The U.S. headquarters of the company very quickly followed up with this apology, which they Tweeted via their U.S. site:

“We are working with our Thailand franchisee to immediately pull the ad. DD recognizes the insensitivity of this spot.”

The new Thailand campaign was to promote the new Charcoal Donut, which is of course, full of chocolate.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Blackface advert shows a woman, smiling at the camera with full black makeup, a black beehive hairstyle, holding a half eaten black donut. The slogan at the bottom simply reads: “Break every rule of deliciousness.”

The controversy erupted after critics, as well as many internet observers, said the picture was reminiscent of American stereotypes for black people, which are not acceptable in this day and age.

The main critics of the advertising campaign, the Human Rights Watch, based in New York expressed complete shock at the ad.

Phil Robertson, who works for the Human Rights Watch Asian branch said: “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.”

He continued to express his outrage at the advert, in no uncertain terms: “Dunkin’ Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it’s offended, and ensure this never happens again.”

Before the U.S. Dunkin’ Donut operation even had the chance to apologize for the advert, their CEO in Thailand, Nadim Salhani, said in a telephone interview: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. 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?”

Salhani, who is Lebanese born, continued to voice his views on the matter: “Not everybody in the world is paranoid about racism. I’m sorry, but this is a marketing campaign, and it’s working very well for us.”

What is your view on the Dunkin’ Donuts Blackface controversy? Do you think the advert is racist? Or perhaps just distasteful or insensitive? Or do you think the ad isn’t racist and is simply promoting a donut? Post your comments in the feed below.