Qiaobi Detergent, the company behind the racist video which went viral earlier this week, has decided to have a second attempt at addressing the controversy surrounding the ill-conceived ad campaign.
The infamous advertisement for Qiaobi-brand laundry detergent was circulated around on WeChat early on Thursday. Before the end of the day, it had become a viral sensation, hitting the top of Reddit, garnering over 2 million views on YouTube and being featured in articles by major international publications around the world.
In the video, a paint-splattered black man confidently approaches a young Chinese woman, only to have detergent placed in his mouth and his body shoved into a washing machine for a thorough rinsing. Once the wash cycle is done, out pops a pristine young Chinese man, as clean as can be.
After at first throwing the toys out of the pram and declaring foreign media “too sensitive,” it looks like they finally hired a PR firm and went about developing a coherent response. A few hours ago they published the following statement on their Weibo account (English translation below).
The statement reads:
On May 27, media outlets and individuals posted reports from the United States on Sina Weibo which said that an advertisement for Qiaobi Detergent was racist and had caused a great deal of controversy after being uploaded to Youtube. We took steps to verify these claims and found that the Washington Post, LA Times, CNN, BBC and AFP had all reported on the story, generating a huge amount of public interest. Upon learning of this we immediately set about dealing with the situation and would like to issue the following statement:
1) We had no intention of discriminating against people of color. The color of one’s skin is not the standard by which we should judge each other. We strongly oppose and condemn racial discrimination.
2) We regret that our advertisement led to controversy and have no intention of shirking our responsibility. We have stopped airing the advertisement and have removed links to the offending video. We hope that internet users and the media will also stop disseminating the video.
3) The advertisement and the surrounding controversy has hurt those of African descent, and because of this we would like to apologize. We sincerely hope that internet users and the media will not continue to over-analyze the situation.
4) Qiaobi Detergent is a Chinese household brand. We hope that Chinese brands will continue to find success in international markets.
They are however still yet to address the fact that the video is a blatant ripoff (using the exact same music and sound effects) of a series of Italian laundry detergent ads that were aired about 9 years ago. Containing similar racist overtones, the original ads argue that in fact “Coloured is better.”
If you somehow haven’t seen the offending video by now, watch it below: