Dunkin’ Donuts recently came under fire for an ad featured in Thailand but quickly extinguished their PR fire with an apology.  The ad featured a woman in blackface makeup, bright pink lips, a beehive hairdo, and holding a half eaten chocolate donut from the “charcoal” donut line. The ad was brought to the attention of Human Rights Watch (HRW), an independent organization dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, and they deemed it “bizarre and racist”.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, Karen Raskopf, the chief communications officer for Dunkin’ Brands, said the campaign for the dark chocolate donuts was indeed “insensitive”:

On behalf of our Thailand franchise and our company, we apologize for any offense it caused.  We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign.

But not everyone thought the ad was offensive. Citing the success of the ad campaign and a 50 percent increase in sales since the campaign premiered, Nadim Salhani, Dunkin Donut’s Thailand CEO, told the Bangkok Post, “It’s absolutely ridiculous. 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, who is Lebanese, also told the Bangkok Post that she doesn’t think everyone in the world is “is paranoid about racism”. Ironically, Salhani’s teenage daughter was the one used in the campaign.

What do you think about the ad campaign? Racist or as Salhani put it, just people being paranoid about racism?

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  • Jame

    This isn’t jumping out at me as racist. On the other hand, it decidedly doesn’t make me want to eat a donut either. Terrible ad, at best the imagery is completely irrelevant to the product.

  • Not even sure if there is such a thing as a charcoal doughnut, but I have seen, in person, people who were charcoal black – which was unusually striking, just as it was to meet a woman who was snow white. The ad may or may not have been meant to be racist. The woman in this ad is beautiful and her hair regally styled, whereas blackface was meant to be unattractive buffoonery…

  • Nakiaj1s

    what if she was covered all in blue? or purple? what if she was covered all in yellow? would the asians have a case? her whole body is covered in paint? would that count? sometimes body paint is body paint and not black face. not everything is racism. it’s not the image, it’s the INTENT. i don’t see this as having a racist intent. the NAME of the donut is CHARCOAL. Charcoal is BLACK. the model’s eyes and lips “pop”. focus is drawn to her eyes, lips, the donut and the dunkin logo. advertising. that is all. we really need to chose our battles. we’re so busy complaining about what other people do to offend us but don’t spend nearly enough time checking our OWN people on the buffoonery that we ourselves act out. these many decades later and we’re still hoping that OTHER people stop racism. we need to focus on putting ourselves in positions of power to make change. the change doesn’t need to come from advertising it needs to come from ACTION. we have no real voice because all it ever is, is WHINING REACTIONS. we have no real power. so many people were expecting Obama to come into office and for racism to just stop. or for him to “put the smack down” on racism and prejudice. it’s something we ALL have to do. i get sick of hearing us cry wolf over everything. i know other races do too. and just like the story people are eventually going to stop listening. some black folk just like to feel indignant and enraged over a “social issue”. FOCUS and stop fighting over the wrong things. time wasted sweating the small stuff.

    • mostexhalted30

      Interesting. Blacks respond to something blatantly offensive and it’s characterize was “whining?” Blacks speak out against something that has a historical context as being racist and we are the problem? Hahahahahaha. Boy or boy, haven’t I heard this before. So, basically anything that is offensive against our race we need to STFU. Got it. I read and watch stories all the time of African Americans working hard within our own community and coming together for a positive change and outcome. Yet, somehow these stories are meticulously missing from your post where you basically place the blame on black people. NIIIIIIICE!The only people I see doing whining all the time as it relates to racism are mostly white people who are under this delusion of anti-white racism, reverse racism, and any other paranoia that threatens their access to racial privilege on the basis of having white skin. Maybe you need to educate yourself or work within your own community if you wish to see the change you obviously don’t experience around you. Or better yet, stop finding certain opinions by a few black people that go against “popular opinions” within the black community – Lord knows we are monolithic group – and posting them on message boards because they back up your own assertion for how blacks need to behave and what not. No other race of people would tolerate it and neither will blacks. So, do us a favor and get over the idea of blacks keeping our mouths shut.