Dunkin' Donuts criticized for ad with woman in blackface makeup - New York News

Dunkin' Donuts criticized for ad with woman in blackface makeup

Posted: Updated:

By JOCELYN GECKER

BANGKOK (AP) — A leading human rights group has called on Dunkin' Donuts to withdraw a "bizarre and racist" advertisement for chocolate doughnuts in Thailand that shows a smiling woman with bright pink lips in blackface makeup.

The Dunkin' Donuts franchise in Thailand launched a campaign earlier this month for its new "Charcoal Donut" featuring the image, which is reminiscent of 19th and early 20th century American stereotypes for black people that are now considered offensive symbols of a racist era.

A poster and television commercials show the woman with a shiny jet black, 1950s-style beehive hairdo biting into a black doughnut alongside the slogan: "Break every rule of deliciousness."

Human Rights Watch said it was shocked to see an American brand name running an advertising campaign that would draw "howls of outrage" if released in the United States.

"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. "Dunkin' Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it's offended and ensure this never happens again."

The campaign hasn't ruffled many in Thailand, where it's common for advertisements to inexplicably use racial stereotypes. Ads for the Black Man brand of household mops and dustpans show a smiling black man in a tuxedo and bow tie. A Thai skin whitening cream runs TV commercials that say white-skinned people have better job prospects than those with dark skin. An herbal Thai toothpaste says its dark-colored product "is black, but it's good."

The CEO for Dunkin' Donuts in Thailand dismissed the criticism as "paranoid American thinking."

"It's absolutely ridiculous," said CEO Nadim Salhani. "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 said that the Thai franchise of Dunkin' Donuts operates independently of the American operation and that doughnut sales have increased about 50 percent since the campaign was launched around two weeks ago, which he attributed to curiosity about the new advertisements.

"Not everybody in the world is paranoid about racism," said Salhani, a Lebanese expatriate in Thailand who said his teenage daughter was the model featured in the campaign. "I'm sorry, but this is a marketing campaign, and it's working very well for us."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Broadway preview: 'It's Only a Play'

    Broadway preview: 'It's Only a Play'

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:12 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:12:00 GMT
    Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, and Megan Mullally are just some of the names heading back to Broadway. Legendary playwright and four-time tony winner Terrence McNally leads the all-star cast in the new Broadway play appropriately titled It's Only a Play.
    Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, and Megan Mullally are just some of the names heading back to Broadway. Legendary playwright and four-time tony winner Terrence McNally leads the all-star cast in the new Broadway play appropriately titled It's Only a Play.
  • Mayor pushes back pre-k concerns

    Mayor pushes back pre-k concerns

    Thursday, August 28 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-08-28 21:16:48 GMT
    Mayor Bill de Blasio, educators and city leaders gathered at p.s. 307 in Brooklyn on Thursday to talk with pride about more than 50,000 kids who have enrolled in pre-kindergarten. Universal full-day pre-k was a platform of his campaign when he ran for mayor.Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also feels the pre-k program is ready for launch.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio, educators and city leaders gathered at p.s. 307 in Brooklyn on Thursday to talk with pride about more than 50,000 kids who have enrolled in pre-kindergarten. Universal full-day pre-k was a platform of his campaign when he ran for mayor.Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also feels the pre-k program is ready for launch.
  • Missing NJ man found dead in Israeli forest

    Missing NJ man found dead in Israeli forest

    Thursday, August 28 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-08-28 20:33:49 GMT
    The body of a missing New Jersey religious student who disappeared during a hike in a forest outside Jerusalem last week has been found. Aaron Sofer, 23, of Lakewood, N.J., had been missing since Friday, when he went on a hike with a friend in the Jerusalem Forest and the two became separated, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
    The body of a missing New Jersey religious student who disappeared during a hike in a forest outside Jerusalem last week has been found. Aaron Sofer, 23, of Lakewood, N.J., had been missing since Friday, when he went on a hike with a friend in the Jerusalem Forest and the two became separated, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices