A commercial for luxury toilet paper is facing accusations of racism after its starred a white actress with a slogan inspired by the civil rights movement.
Brazilian toilet paper company Santher drew public ire after it released an ad for new toilet paper products featuring white actress Marina Ruy Barbosa naked, but wrapped in black toilet paper.
According to The Telegraph, The company was forced to drop its “Black is Beautiful” slogan, which was famously used by South African anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko and other activists, following outrage that the company was equating toilet paper to equal rights for black people.
Social media users were outraged at the company for using the phrase, which held great significance to social activists, to promote toilet paper.
“People died so that this expression could be revered until today,” Rio de Janeiro-based writer Anderson França wrote in a Facebook post. “People continue dying and this expression is more important and vital than never before. But in Brazil if you key in #blackisbeautiful you are going to find ass paper.”
A gente vê racismo em tudo ou cês são convenientemente cegos? #blackisbeautiful #personalvipblack
França’s post garnered widespread virality on social media in Brazil, and made its way elsewhere across the Internet. It has been shared over 2,700 times since it was published on Tuesday.
Following the outrage on social media, Santher pulled the ad and issued an apology, stating that they never intended to appropriate the slogan from the civil rights era. The actress, Marina Ruy Barbosa, has also apologized for her role.
“We would like to clarify that we have never had any intention of provoking a racial discussion through the launch of our Personal VIP Black Toilet Paper,” Santher said in a statement.
Humberto Adami, a black lawyer in Rio, called the controversy serious and suggested that advertisements of this sort are a form of “subliminal racism.”
“When these adverts suggest this type of subliminal racism they should be removed, because they reinforce the teaching of racism,” Adami said in The Guardian.
Feature Image via Twitter
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