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>>

  • Schumer proposes ban on 10 flame retardants

    Schumer proposes ban on 10 flame retardants

    Sunday, September 14 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-09-15 02:42:47 GMT
    Gov. Andrew CuomoGov. Andrew Cuomo
    Senator Charles Schumer says a Duke University study has found flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children's products like toys, pajamas and pillows to be highly toxic. The chemicals have also been linked to developmental delays and rare cancers in firefighters as well as cancers and hormone disruption in children.
    Senator Charles Schumer says a Duke University study has found flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children's products like toys, pajamas and pillows to be highly toxic. The chemicals have also been linked to developmental delays and rare cancers in firefighters as well as cancers and hormone disruption in children.
  • Electricity goes out at Six Flags, guests left stranded

    Electricity goes out at Six Flags, guests left stranded

    Sunday, September 14 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-09-14 22:50:36 GMT
    Six Flags Great Adventure 45th anniversary logo. (AP photo)Six Flags Great Adventure 45th anniversary logo. (AP photo)
    It wasn't the amusement park thrill they were expecting. Some people at Great Adventure in New Jersey were left stranded on rides after a power outage.
    It wasn't the amusement park thrill they were expecting. Some people at Great Adventure in New Jersey were left stranded on rides after a power outage.
  • Stranded jet skiers rescued off Staten Island

    Stranded jet skiers rescued off Staten Island

    Sunday, September 14 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-09-14 22:43:09 GMT
    Two jet skiers stranded since Saturday night were rescued from small islands off of Staten Island Sunday morning, police sources said. The FDNY Marine division discovered the first jet skier on the West Bank Lighthouse island while patrolling the area after 8 a.m. Sunday, and took him to Staten Island University Hospital North. His friend, a man in his 40s, was also saved.
    Two jet skiers stranded since Saturday night were rescued from small islands off of Staten Island Sunday morning, police sources said. The FDNY Marine division discovered the first jet skier on the West Bank Lighthouse island while patrolling the area after 8 a.m. Sunday, and took him to Staten Island University Hospital North. His friend, a man in his 40s, was also saved.
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