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Dove apologizes for three-second ad

NBC News

NBC News

Jerrica Thomas, staff writer

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On a Friday afternoon, makeup artist Naomi Blake is scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed, when she notices a new ad from Dove. ” Blake, Naythemua on Facebook, posted a screenshot of a Dove image on Facebook, according to Amy Held of NPR.

Blake spoke in an interview with Good Morning America the following week. She never refers to the advertisement as racist, but “tone deaf” and a “forefront representation of colorism in the world.”

Dove USA had released an advertisement that features women removing their shirts to reveal other women, according to Maggie Astor of The New York Times.  It shows a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a red-haired white woman.

Consumers took to Twitter to express their reactions.  #Boycott Dove became a growing hashtag by Oct. 9, according to Wootson.   

“What exactly were y’all going for?” Ariel Macklin, a Facebook user with one of the top comments, said. “I mean anyone with eyes can see how offensive this is. Not one person on your staff objected to this?”

Dove has since removed the post and released an apology on Facebook and Twitter.

“Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity,” Dove said. “In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”

Critics on social media believe the apology won’t suffice. “You can do better than ‘missed the mark.’ You do good work. Have been for years. Do better here,” Ava DuVernay, film director and producer, said.

Ava DuVernay, director and producer, criticized Dove’s statement apologizing for the ad on her Twitter account

Others think that they took the ad’s intended message out of proportion. “If you paid attention to the whole commercial it didn’t seem negative,” Allena Washington, senior education major, said. “The original commercial was based on wanting to show that their product was good for all nationalities and all skin types.”

 

“I think we emphasized on the wrong thing,” Brianna Ahmad, senior accounting major, said. “We have to pick and choose our battles wisely.”

Lola Ogunyemi, the Nigerian model featured in the ad, defended Dove’s content in an op-editorial for The Guardian. “I’ve grown up very aware of society’s opinion that dark-skinned people, especially women, would look better if our skin were lighter,” Ogunyemi said. “And this is why, when Dove offered me the chance to be the face of a new body wash campaign, I jumped.”

She was surprised to find the ad became controversial and “racist.” She had a “positive” experience working with Dove. “All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective – to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness,” Ogunyemi said.

Although she agrees with the company’s decision to apologize, “they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign,” Ogunyemi said.

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Dove apologizes for three-second ad