Dunkin’ Donuts is in them middle of a public relations nightmare with the release of their Thailand based ‘Charcoal Donut’ campaign. Deemed “bizarre and racist” by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the ad shows a woman in blackface with pink lips holding a half-eaten donut.
In a statement issued to the New York Daily Times, Karen Raskopf, the chief communications officer for Dunkin’ Brands issued an apology for the “insensitive” ad.
“On behalf of our Thailand franchise and our company, we apologize for any offense it caused. We are working with our franchaisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign.”
However, at least one higher up within Dunkin’ does not find the ad insensitive. According to a statement released to the Bangkok Post, Nadim Salhani, CEO for Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand feels that people are paranoid about racism and admits her daughter is the blackface-painted model in the controversial ad.
“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?”
“Not everybody in the world is paranoid about racism, I’m sorry, but this is a marketing campaign, and it’s working very well for us.”
With Salhani’s strong opposition towards pulling the Charcoal Donut advertising, this will likely be an uphill battle.
Read more of the NY Daily News story here.