Dunkin' Donuts is apologizing for an ad in Thailand that used a woman in blackface to sell its new "Charcoal Donut."
The campaign, launched earlier this month, hasn't ruffled feathers in Thailand -- where ads with racial undertones are common -- but drew sharp criticism from human rights groups who deemed it racist and demanded its removal.
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Such an ad, they claim, would spark "howls of outrage" 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," Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, told the Associated Press. "Dunkin' Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it's offended and ensure this never happens again."
The ad features a model in blackface makeup and bright pink lipstick holding up a chocolate doughnut.
The slogan, translated from Thai, reads: "Break every rule of deliciousness."
Dunkin' Donuts apologized for the ad Friday and said it would be pulled immediately.
The chief executive of Dunkin's Thailand franchise had called any criticism of the ad "just paranoid American thinking."
"It's absolutely ridiculous," Nadim Salhani told the AP. "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?"
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