How racist can you be, 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.
A female model with dark skin and bright pink lips is used in both television commercial and posters.
She holds the chocolate doughnut with the slogan ‘Break every rule of deliciousness.’
Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said: ‘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.
‘Dunkin’ Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it’s offended and ensure this never happens again.’
They added that American audiences would react with ‘howls of outrage’ if the advert had been used there.
Despite this, the campaign has not caused outrage in Thailand, reportedly because the use of racial stereotypes in advertisements is common.
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.