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Gap Sorry for ‘Racially Insensitive’ Kids Pose in Ad Photo



Gap is apologizing this week after a photo in its new Gap Kids ad campaign sparked controversy for a “racially insensitive” pose. The photo shows a white child model resting her arm on a black child’s head.

The ad campaign is a new collaboration with TV host Ellen Degeneres’ lifestyle brand ED, and it features a dance group called Le Petit Cirque that comprises three white girls and one black one.


People began expressing outrage after Gap published the new advertising photos this past weekend.

“…it becomes problematic when the black child is positioned to be a white child’s prop,” writes Kirsten West Savali over at The Root. “Contrary to popular opinion, popular culture and politics, black women and girls are neither armrests, backdrops nor firewalls, despite white supremacy literally placing its burdensome weight on our heads.”

“This child deserved so much better, so do better, Gap—or not. It’s your business to lose.”

Here are some of the critical Tweets that were posted by people unhappy with the photo:

Gap soon responded to its critics with an apology, saying that it will be replacing the controversial image with a different photo.

“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 spokesperson tells Co.Create. “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.”

Other people are speaking out in defense of the ad photo. It turns out the two girls in the photo are sisters — daughters of actress Brooke Smith — and that Gap previously published a non-controversial ad with the same pose — except with the races reversed.

At the time of this post, the photo is still up on the @GapKids Twitter account. What’s your opinion on the pose in the photo?