Gap Kids is finding itself in a swirl of controversy for an ad that some on Twitter are saying projects a racist subtext.
At first glance, the tweet sent Saturday, looks ordinary: Four girls from the children’s acrobatic group Le Petit Cirque pose for the brand’s Ellen Degeneres line of clothing, GapKids X ED, with the caption “meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.”
But in the top right picture, one girl is posing with her arm on a shorter black girl’s head, with some say showing her as merely being support for the white girls that can “do anything.”
Here’s the tweet in question:
meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.
— GapKids (@GapKids) April 2, 2016
Reaction was swift amongst its followers, particularly among Black Twitter users, who slammed Gap Kids:
@GapKids Why is the little black girl being used as an arm rest? I’m sure there were better photos taken. You should fix it.
— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) April 3, 2016
— Fatima La’Juan Muse (@TheTherapyDiva) April 2, 2016
@GapKids who thought it was okay to present the ONE black girl as static / armrest FIRE THEM
— tesseract (@A10110110) April 2, 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
— ReadEverythingDotCom (@ASHA7777) April 2, 2016
Commenters also took aim at Gap’s marketing department for approving the ad:
@GapKids my 6 year old saw this and immediately recognized the problem but a whole adult PR dept missed it.
— Loc’d Hair Free Mind (@klpqueen) April 3, 2016
— Linda Mitchell (@lindaemitchell) April 3, 2016
Gap didn’t immediately reply for comment.
Update: Gap spokesperson Debbie Felix has issued an apology to anyone offended.
“This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment,” she said. “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.”