Gap apologized on April 5 after receiving criticism over an ad for its Ellen DeGeneres kids clothing line that people on social media found racially insensitive.
The ad featured four members of the Le Petit Cirque group, ages 5 to 14. In the ad, it showed two white girls in acrobatic positions, while an older white girl rests her elbow on top of a young black girl’s head.
Gap tweeted the photo on April 2 with a caption that read, “Meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.”
The photo was quickly met with backlash from Twitter users saying the black girl was used as a “prop” or a piece of furniture.
— E. Tammy Kim 김태미 (@etammykim) April 5, 2016
— Stevie W (@steviegenesis) April 3, 2016
— Luke (@lukemort) April 3, 2016
— mb (@MonaB2010) April 3, 2016
— Carrie Cutforth (@CeeCut4th) April 3, 2016
Following the criticism on social media, on April 5, Gap replaced the image in the ad campaign and apologized.
“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,” Debbie Felix, a Gap Kids representative, told the Daily Mail Online on Monday.
“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,” she said.
In an interesting twist, NFL player-turned-filmmaker Mathew A. Cherry pointed out that Gap used a similar pose in 2015—but with an older black girl resting her arm on a younger white girls head.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) April 3, 2016