Dunkin’ Donuts have been accused of racism following their recent Thailand-based campaign, promoting a new all chocolate donut. The advert that came under fire shows a woman in black face makeup smiling at the camera in a 1950s hairstyle while holding a chocolate donut.
Human Rights Watch criticized the advert saying it was “bizarre and racist.” 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: “Dunkin’ Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it’s offended, and ensure this never happens again.”
Initially, Thailand’s Dunkin’ Donuts’ CEO, Nadim Salhani, said: “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 a Lebanese ex-pat, continued: “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.”
DD’s HQ back in the US was quick to apologize for the ad. They posted a Twitter message via their site, which was short and to the point: “We are working with our Thailand franchisee to immediately pull the ad. DD recognizes the insensitivity of this spot.”
What do you think about Dunkin’ Donuts blackface ad campaign? Do you think it was racist and offensive?