The Gap issued an apology Monday for ads connected to the company's Ellen DeGeneres children's collection after some complained about the role of an African-American girl used in the campaign.
The two print ads and one video feature Le Petit Cirque, a circus troupe made up of three Caucasian girls and one African-American girl, ages 8 to 12. In one ad, the tallest girl is seen resting her arm on top of the young black girl as the others pose on the sides. Another print photo shows the African-American girl leaning on another girl.
Other criticized the video ad, pointing out the African-American girl's passivity and silence as the other girls interacted with DeGeneres and performed, according to The Washington Post
"In this instance, image matters more than intent," wrote the African-American-oriented website The Root
. "And the lack of racial and cultural diversity at the executive level, which allowed that image to be approved and circulated, is one of the many ways in which institutional and systemic racism functions. Those girls, all of them, deserved better than to be placed in such a racial tableau."
Some, though, said they thought the controversy was overblown.
Gap responded to the criticism with an apology Monday.
"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," Gap representative Debbie Felix said in the statement.
"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," she continued.
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