Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics, the brains behind a Chinese ad for Qiaobi laundry detergent are under fire after running what The Huffington Post has called “the most racist commercial ever made.”
The controversial ad shows a young Chinese woman flirting with a black man in paint-splashed clothes. As he gets closer, she shoves a detergent pack in his mouth and stuffs him in the washing machine. She sits on the machine as he protests inside. When he finally emerges, he comes out a pale Chinese man, much to the young woman’s delight. The ad was being shown on television and in movie theaters.
In a statement issued Saturday, a rep from Shanghai Leshang Cosmetics said, “The advertisement and the surrounding controversy have hurt people of African descent. We express our apologies, and also sincerely hope internet users and media won’t overanalyze the situation.” However, a rep also told The Global Times, a Chinese nationalist newspaper, that critics of the ad were “too sensitive.”