Gap Pulls Ad Called ‘Racist’ And Apologizes, Kids Mom Responds

Rucuss staffApril 6, 2016

Gap has pulled an ad that some believe delivers a “racist” message.

The ad in question shows a 12-year-old white girl from a youth performance group leaning her arm on a black 8-year-old fellow troupe member. Critics said the ad gives a message of “passive racism.”

“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,” a Gap spokeswoman said in a 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.”

The campaign launched last Friday and was made in collaboration with Ellen DeGenerres’ lifestyle brand ED. As part of the campaign, Gap Inc., based in San Francisco, is donating $250,000 to the charity Girls Inc. to support its economic literacy program.

But the promo photo quickly became the focus. Check it out below.

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The young girls in the new ad campaign, Le PeTiT CiRque, market themselves as “the only all humanitarian kid circus.”

The CiRque kids also made a video where they spoke about inspiring other girls. But the glaring problem was the completely silent and solo black girl among the group of white children.

People were upset that one of the girls was using the young black girl as an “armrest” in the ad. Tons of tweets filled Gap’s mentions blasting them for this decision. Check out a few below.



The Root‘s Kirsten Savali shared her opinion on the ad as well.

“While all of the girls are adorable and, indeed, all of them should grow up to be and do anything, it becomes problematic when the black child is positioned to be a white child’s prop,” Savali said. “We are living in a time where black consumerism is vastly outpacing black wealth and our dollars, like our votes, are still being taken for granted.”

Gap responded to Savali below.


Another picture was offered up during this Twitter debate this week that showed a past Gap ad using the same pose, but the races are reversed. There was no backlash about this ad.

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Now the parent of the two girls who people were focused on in the photo has come forward. Turns out, the girls are actually adoptive sisters. According to their mother, Brooke Smith, who also stars on Grey’s Anatomy, the younger sister is simply shy and very quiet.
Now, Gap is primarily focusing on their other promo pics instead of the first one:

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Watch the Gap kids video below.


Photos via Gap


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