Dunkin' Donuts executives have issued an apology after releasing an ad to promote the company’s new "charcoal donut" in Thailand, featuring a woman in "blackface" makeup, The Guardian reports. They also suspended the ad campaign, including a planned television spot.
The advert, which was used to promote the donut giant's "charcoal donut", was called "bizarre and racist" by a leading human rights group.
Dunkin' Donuts chief executive in Thailand defended the campaign, but a spokesman for Dunkin' Brands told the Guardian on Friday it would immediately pull a planned television spot featuring the imagery.
"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 provided to the Guardian. "We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign."
Human Rights Watch, a watchdog organization, said the ad would have provoked "howls of outrage" in the U.S.
"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," said Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for HRW. "Dunkin' Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it's offended and ensure this never happens again."
Read more at The Guardian.