South African organization Feed a Child has apologized for a highly controversial ad depicting a Black child as a dog being fed treats by a wealthy, White woman.
The boy is shown at different moments: with his head in her lap, at her feet while she sits at a table and reclining in a chair, and licking food off of her fingers.
Feed a Child’s founder insists that she “doesn’t see color” and that the campaign’s intent was to show that “the average domestic animal eats better than millions of children”. The organization, however, still apologized for the controversy:
The management and associates of Feed a Child extends our unreserved apology to any person(s) or group(s) who have been offended or hurt in any manner by our recent commercial that was shown on national television and YouTube. Our intention was not to cause offence.
We acknowledge the fact that the advert could be seen as insensitive or distasteful and we take heed to the fact that many perceived the advert as racist. This was most certainly not the intention, and again we apologise.
Unfortunately the core message of the commercial became diluted or even lost through the interpretation thereof. The core message of the commercial was to draw attention to the extremely important issue of malnutrition and raise awareness of the plight of many children in South Africa who go to bed hungry. The commercial requests assistance to help us as an organisation (and many other organisations who do similar work) to address the situation.
The decision has been made to withdraw the advert from all media. We realise that the advert has gone viral on social media however, with the effect that it is no longer in our power to pull the advert from all media altogether.
The commercial is intentionally emotive to trigger the necessary awareness on this issue to generate engagement and contributions. There was no intention to cause offense. Feed a Child aims to provide support for the devastating impacts caused by poverty and malnutrition in South Africa. Our main mission is to make people aware of the fact that there are thousands of children out there that they work with on a daily basis that don’t even have access to one meal per day.
See the original ad here.