Dunkin Donuts blackface ad, criticized as 'bizarre and racist', pulled

The Dunkin Donuts blackface advertisement, which human rights advocates call “bizarre and racist,” has been pulled after drawing flak.

Dunkin Donuts Charcoal Donut

According to Yahoo! News, a Dunkin Donuts franchise in Thailand received heavy criticism for its recent TV commercial featuring a woman wearing black makeup.

The ad meant to promote the store’s new product, the “Charcoal Donut,” which was launched in mid-August.


The Human Rights Watch, an organization based in New York, reportedly said the ad campaign would have drawn “howls of outrage” if shown in the US.

“It’s both bizarre and racist that Dunkin’ Donuts thinks that it must color a woman’s skin black and accentuate her lips with bright pink lipstick to sell a chocolate doughnut,” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy Asia director, told media. “Dunkin’ Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it’s offended and ensure this never happens again.”

The store’s US headquarters immediately responded and issued an apology. “We are working with our Thailand franchisee to immediately pull the ad. DD recognizes the insensitivity of this spot,” Dunkin’ Donuts posted on Twitter.

A source from Bangkok sent us a text saying the commercial was apparently pulled from television stations there.

The local franchise’s chief executive officer Nadim Salhani, who earlier dismissed the criticism as “paranoid American thinking,” claims doughnut sales increased by 50 percent since the ad was released.

Salhani’s daughter is the model featured in the Dunkin Donuts blackface TV commercial.