A leading human rights group has called on Dunkin’ Donuts to withdraw a “bizarre and racist” advertisement for chocolate doughnuts in Thailand that shows a smiling woman with bright pink lips in blackface makeup.
The Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Thailand launched a campaign earlier this month for its new “Charcoal Donut” featuring the image, which is reminiscent of 19th and early 20th century American stereotypes for black people that are now considered offensive symbols of a racist era. In posters and TV commercials, the campaign shows the woman with a shiny jet black, 1950s-style beehive hairdo holding a bitten black doughnut alongside the slogan: “Break every rule of deliciousness.”
Human Rights Watch said it was shocked to see an American brand name running an advertising campaign that would draw “howls of outrage” if released in the United States.
“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 Human Rights Watch.