Dunkin’ Donuts Apologizes For Running ‘Bizarre and Racist’ Ad in Thailand

by bisonmessink

Dunkin' Donuts Thai advert

The advertisement for Dunkin’ Donuts’ “Charcoal Donut” that ran in Thailand.

Dunkin’ Donuts moved quickly on Friday to pull an advertisement the company was using to promote the company’s “Charcoal Donuts.” Criticism of the ad, which features a woman in black face, was initially scoffed at by the CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand as “paranoid American thinking.”

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Nadim Salhani, the head of Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand . “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?”

The woman depicted in the advertisement, who also happens to be Salhani’s daughter, is shown wearing bright pink lipstick and black makeup. She is holding a “Charcoal Donut” and the text in the ad reads: “Break every rule of deliciousness.” In a video version of the ad, the woman is shown changing skin colors after taking a bite of the donut.

The Associated Press reports that the ad did not generate much controversy in Thailand,  “where it’s common for advertisements to inexplicably use racial stereotypes.”

But after the Human Rights Watch denounced the ad as “bizarre and racist” and claims that it would cause “howls of anger” if the ad ran in the United States, the company moved quickly to remove the ad, and apologized both in a statement and through social media.

dunkin donuts tweet

“Dunkin’ Donuts recognizes the insensitivity of this spot and on behalf of our Thailand franchisee and our company, we apologize for any offense it caused,” Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer for Dunkin’ Brands, said in a statement. “We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign.”

Watch the video ad here:

h/t The Guardian