*You are probably just as sick of hearing this kind of news as we are of reporting it. But left unreported, leaving others not to be held accountable for their actions, is not a viable option in delivering news that calls out racism in all of its forms the moment we recognize it.
Lately it seems a barrage of incidents have occurred and the people, companies, organizations around them are quick to release statements of apology. But the thing about apology is, it begins to lose its value when seemingly obvious incidents occur – released by “professionals” who we expect should know better – are behind it. This makes it nearly impossible to accept the concept that they didn’t think first and realize the repercussions – just to later stand behind ‘we’re sorry’.
That’s my disclaimer. Now here’s the story.
The “Feed A Child” organization, based in South Africa, is apologizing for their advertisement that depicts a black child as a white woman’s “pet” – being fed by her hand – one morsel at a time.
As the melancholy music plays, a young boy is shown being fed from the hand of a white woman just like one would feed a dog. At another point, the boys head is in the woman’s lap, at her feet while she sits at a table and reclining in a chair, and licking food off of her fingers.
Following outrage, the organization tried to justify their carelessness saying that their message is that animals are treated better than children; a connection that was lost on EVERYONE.
“The average domestic dog eats better than millions of children” comes on-screen towards the end.
Below is the original ad, the revised ad, and finally – the statement from the organization.
Here is the original ad:
Here is the revised ad:
Here is the Statement from Feed the Children:
The management and associates of Feed a Child extends our unreserved apology to any person(s) or group(s) who have been offended or hurt in any manner by our recent commercial that was shown on national television and YouTube. Our intention was not to cause offense.
We acknowledge the fact that the advert could be seen as insensitive or distasteful and we take heed to the fact that many perceived the advert as racist. This was most certainly not the intention, and again we apologise.
Unfortunately the core message of the commercial became diluted or even lost through the interpretation thereof. The core message of the commercial was to draw attention to the extremely important issue of malnutrition and raise awareness of the plight of many children in South Africa who go to bed hungry. The commercial requests assistance to help us as an organisation (and many other organisations who do similar work) to address the situation.
The decision has been made to withdraw the advert from all media. We realise that the advert has gone viral on social media however, with the effect that it is no longer in our power to pull the advert from all media altogether.
The commercial is intentionally emotive to trigger the necessary awareness on this issue to generate engagement and contributions. There was no intention to cause offense. Feed a Child aims to provide support for the devastating impacts caused by poverty and malnutrition in South Africa. Our main mission is to make people aware of the fact that there are thousands of children out there that they work with on a daily basis that don’t even have access to one meal per day.