Qiaobi, the Chinese company who's ad for detergent drew ire for its racist depiction of a black man, has apologized, CNN reported Monday. The ad, posted on YouTube Thursday, left many viewers slackjawed at its racism: it promises to wash the black out of him.
"[Due to] the harm that has been caused to members of the ethnic African communities as a result of the advertisement's circulation and the over-dramatization by the public opinion, we hereby express our apology and sincerely hope that the internet users as well as media will not over-analyze," Qiaobi said in a statement, according to CNN. "We strongly oppose and condemn racial discrimination."
The ad begins with a Chinese woman suggestively inviting a black workman covered in paint over to her washing machine while she does laundry. As he moves in for the kiss, she stuffs detergent in his mouth and shoves him into the machine instead. After a complete cycle, the black workman comes out as a pristine, fair-skinned East Asian man.
One woman wrote on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo that the ad had appeared in cinemas and on television, Shanghaiist reported.
The publication also noted the short video is a complete replica of an Italian detergent ad campaign from around a decade ago, right down to the music — except it at least had a racially inverted message, with a white, dirty dude getting converted into a clean, sexy black man.
The overt racism of the Qiaobi ad was not lost on some viewers:
The unacceptability of the racial overtones appears pretty black and white to most people.
May 31, 2016, 10:54 a.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.