The Red Cross is under fire over a water safety poster that has been derided as being “super racist” because it shows mostly minority children performing “not cool” activities at a public swimming pool.
The poster was photographed in Colorado before it was uploaded to Twitter by John Sawyer. Sawyer asked the charity to send a new pool poster to the Salida Pool and Recreation in Salida, Colo., as the “current one they have [with] your name on it is super racist.”
The Red Cross poster is titled, “Be Cool, Follow the Rules,” and shows more than a dozen cartoon children playing in a public swimming pool. The poster points out five examples of kids partaking in “not cool” activities, including pushing people into the water and diving.
Four of the five “not cool” children appear to be possibly either black or Hispanic.
The Red Cross, responding to social media backlash over the poster, issued a statement, saying it “appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced.”
“We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone,” the Red Cross stated. “As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day.”
Red Cross said it removed the poster “from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production.” The charity also notified partner aquatic facilities requesting that they take down the poster. Further, the charity said it is creating new materials.
“Our organization has emphasized to our partners and on social media that it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone and apologized for this inadvertent action,” the Red Cross added. “We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward.”