A racist detergent ad by a Chinese company recently stirred resentment after many perceived it to be bigoted against the black race.
In the video, a black man and a young Chinese woman could be seen flirting, then he leans closer for a kiss, but the lady pushes a detergent capsule into his mouth and swings him into a laundry machine.
Afterward, she sits atop the machine waiting for him to get cleaned up while the man whirled around and screams inside until, to her utmost delight, she opens it and a handsome Chinese man dressed in a clean, white t-shirt pops out.
The shockingly offensive advert has drawn hate from both the Chinese and wider web, with users blasting it for being racist. One user on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, wrote “My god. Don’t Chinese marketing people get any education about race?”
Another user wrote after some commenters tried to support the ad “If you don’t understand why it’s racist, congratulations, you’re racist.”
A few days later, the Chinese firm apologized for its apparently racist ad that went viral.
Qiaobi, the company behind the ad, expressed its regrets but said the international media is exaggerating the reaction.
The company is quoted as saying:
“[Due to] the harm that has been caused to members of the ethnic African communities as a result of the advertisement’s circulation and the over-dramatization by the public opinion, we hereby express our apology and sincerely hope that the internet users as well as media will not over-analyze. We strongly oppose and condemn racial discrimination.”
The company also said it has removed traces of the ad online and hopes “that internet users and media will not continue to circulate it.”
The ad isn’t the first. It was obviously copied from another annoying, Italian advert, in which a slender Italian man is washed with “color” detergent and a muscular black man with the slogan “Color is better appears later on.”
While countless Africans are based in China, especially in southern Guangdong province, many have said they face bigotry and prejudice from locals due in part to an extensive stigma against dark skin.
The stigma against black skin has also been reported in other Asian countries. For instance, a Thai beauty company was made to take down an ad and issue an apology after it released a commercial saying “just by being white, you will win.”