A Malaysian beauty supply company has come under fire for using blackface in an advertisement. The video, initially released by Watsons Malaysia to promote Bio-Essence’s Tanaka Whitening Serum that has since been removed, shows a woman who is “cursed with dark skin” that disgusts her peers. Only after washing away her dark skin does the king fall in love with her. “I am not dark, in fact I am flawless,” the woman, now with fairer skin, says.
The company released a statement after being criticized for the advertisement’s racist content. “We are sorry that some of our fans feel offended by the video, which was not our intention,” read Watsons Malaysia Facebook post as way of an apology.
This is not the first time blackface was used in an advertisement to promote skin-whitening products. In the past, a South Korean company featured blackface with the caption, “Whiteness makes you win” and Dove’s parent company, Unilever, was also criticized for selling skin-whitening products in Asia. According to Al Jazeera, skin lighteners are expected to become a $23 billion industry within the next three years with the Asia-Pacific being its largest consumer-base.