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Gap Apologizes for Arguably Racist Ad Where Black Girl Is Used as Armrest

Gap's racist ad showing Black girl used as armrest

Gap’s racist ad showing Black girl used as armrest


Gap, Inc. apologized Tuesday for an ad that was accused of evoking racism.

The ad features members of Le Petit Cirque, a Los Angeles-based kids circus for children ages six to 14 who sing, skateboard and perform martial arts, according to the company Facebook page.

Gap debuted the Gap Kids ad on their Twitter account April 2 saying, “Meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.” Three white children are seen posing in various positions while a Black girl stands still as a white girl rests her arm on her.

Debbie Felix, spokeswoman for the apparel company, issued a statement apologizing for the advertisement.

“As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended. This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique.”

Felix originally released the brand’s apology to Fortune.


There was also a YouTube video with TV host Ellen DeGeneres interviewing the same four girls. The Black child was not shown speaking or performing in the clip, while the white children were shown doing both. DeGeneres partnered with Gap on the clothing line, titled GapKids x ED, according to The Inquisitr.

The depiction has stirred criticism online for depicting the Black girl as a mere prop.

The company’s new ad campaign for Gap Kids is supposed to promote a message of empowerment and encourages children to pursue their passions, according to All Digitocracy.

This isn’t the first time a fashion brand has been accused of racism. In 2011, Jezebel reports Italian Vogue did a feature on what they called “slave earrings.” They later replaced the term with “ethnic.”

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