News & Politics

Nivea Pulls Kerfuffle-Causing Racist Ad

by

The above ad is a part of Nivea’s new “Look Like You Give a Damn” men’s campaign. Is it racist? GOOD thinks so. So does Questlove, and BuzzFeed, and pretty much the whole Internet.

The copy — “Re-Civilize Yourself” — paired with the image of a clean-cut black man holding a…mask? …of his own face but with an Afro and facial hair — well, it’s not hard to draw the same conclusion as GOOD, that the ad’s “message couldn’t be clearer: natural hair on a black man isn’t a style preference or a nod to afrocentrism–it’s straight-up uncivilized.”

This ad is the only one in Nivea’s campaign that features a black man, and it’s also the only one that has the “Re-Civilize Yourself” tagline. It does seem kind of unbelievable that Nivea couldn’t have predicted the uproar that would ensue.

Nivea, which is owned by German corporation Beiersdorf, gave us the following statement in response to our request for comment:

We are deeply sorry for a recent “Re-civilized” NIVEA For Men ad. This ad was inappropriate and offensive. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values at Beiersdorf and we do not tolerate insensitivity. It was never our intention to offend anyone and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again.

At least they didn’t pull the “We’re sorry that we offended people” card.

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

Go to Runnin’ Scared for more Voice news coverage.