GAPKids and Ellen Degeneres got generally favorable reviews when they debuted their gender-neutral line for young girls last summer. Everything seemed to be going well for GAPKids x ED until this weekend.
Their newest campaign is centered around the mantra “girls can do anything.” Here’s the campaign they debuted:
meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.
— GapKids (@GapKids) April 2, 2016
It features Le Petit Cirque, “the only all-kid humanitarian cirque company in the world,” but no one seemed to care about that once the tweet with the new images surfaced.
— Judith M (@Jmeow2) April 3, 2016
That ad certainly isn’t suggesting that *black* girls “can do anything,” @GapKids. It’s incredibly distasteful to your black consumer base.
— stacia l. brown (@slb79) April 3, 2016
— Jasmine Wow (@Jmo120) April 3, 2016
As you can see, the campaign was met with major backlash because the only dancer of color featured was acting as an armrest for a white girl.
GAP responded today with a statement delivered via spokesperson Debbie Felix:
As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended. This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique.
Interestingly, the two girls in the pose that launched all of the discussion are adopted sisters. Their mother, Brooke Smith, explained it like this:
@TheRoot girl with arm resting on her shoulder is her sister She didn’t talk in video because she was 2 shy. everyone needs to calm down.
— Brooke Smith (@Iam_BrookeSmith) April 3, 2016
Regardless of their relationship, GAP has replaced the photo with one that appears to be from the same shoot.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) April 3, 2016
[image via screengrab]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.