Despite H&M’s apology, The Weeknd says he’s no longer working with the apparel brand after its latest “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” controversy. And we don’t blame him. “Woke up shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” he tweeted Monday afternoon. “I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore.”
As we’re all unfortunately aware, major companies have gained tons of exposure over racially-insensitive advertising. Here are five other times big brands entirely f**ked up. #NeverForget
Dove’s Incessant Whitewashing
Dove’s received backlash for misrepresenting POC, particularly Black women, a few times too many. In most recent memory, the brand caught reasonable flack for depicting a Black woman transforming into a white woman after using its body wash. While most of the general public writhed in furor, however, Lola Ogunyemi—the Black woman in the ad—said her experience with the Dove team was positive. “I can see how the snapshots that are circulating the web have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue,” she wrote for The Guardian. “Having said that, I can also see that a lot has been left out. The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion.”
Intel’s Flashback to the 1600s
Intel may have meant well with its 2007 “Multiply computing performance” campaign, but the Black runners shown kneeling at the feet of a white employee in one of its ads… well… you can guess it wasn’t received well. Plot twist: Intel reps stated they were aware of how “insensitive” the ad was and attempted to pull it, but it was somehow still printed by a publication. Whoops.
Nivea’s Questionable Idea of “Purity”
Around the same time Pepsi began receiving backlash for that terrible Kendall Jenner ad, German skincare maker Nivea became the subject of widespread uproar amid its “white is purity” campaign. Six months later, the brand found itself in the hot seat again after an ad featuring Omowunmi Akinnifesi showcased the former Nigerian beauty queen becoming progressively lighter while using the product. Forreal, though. Who green-lights this s**t?
PopChips’ Brown Face Blunder
Never forget that one time the folks at PopChips saw it fit to dress Ashton Kutcher up as an Indian man named Raj—brown makeup and all—for its “dating campaign parody.” The brand’s CEO wrote in a statement:
“We received a lot feedback about the dating campaign parody we launched today and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their point of view … our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. we did not intend to offend anyone. i take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.”
Sony/Playstation’s Problematic Warning
Sony sent the internet into an uproar with its 2006 “White is coming” ad, in which the popular brand proclaims that “PlayStation Portable White is coming.” The accompanying image shows a white woman, who’s dressed in all white, aggressively grabbing the jaw of Black woman, dressed in all black. To make matters worse, the brand had the nerve to defend the ad amid backlash, citing “stunningly photographed imagery” used in the campaign. If y’all don’t get.