Gap has issued an apology for their latest GapKids ad campaign shoot that stirred up a bit of controversy earlier this week. The photo above features 12-year-old Fanny Grace Lubensky leaning on 9-year-old Lucy Dinknesh Lubensky. While the setup appears innocent, such image has caused many to believe that racial motivations were at work during the creation process.
A number of consumers questioned why the “black child” had to serve as the prop to a “white child” while all the other children, who happened to be white, were free to do whatever they wanted in the shoot. Kirsten West Savali of The Root even wrote, “While all of the girls are adorable and, indeed, all of them should grow up to be and do anything, it becomes problematic when the black child is positioned to be a white child’s prop.”
As a result of the backlash, Gap issued an apology and swapped out the photo for another picture. “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,” Gap spokesperson Debbie Felix said in a statement. “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.”
There are a few things that critics should know before deeming Gap as a completely racist company. First, this isn’t the first time that the company has used children as props in their ad campaigns. In fact, a previous campaign featured an African American child leaning on a white child in the same manner that Fanny was resting on Lucy.
Another unknown fact is that the two girls at the center of the controversy are actually sisters. Their mom, Brooke Smith of Grey’s Anatomy, commented on the incident shortly after the uproar began. “[The] girl with [her] arm resting on her shoulder is her sister. [Lucy] didn’t talk in video because she was 2 shy. Everyone needs to calm down,” Smith tweeted.
So what do you think? Is this a case of sisterly love where big sister brings peace to little sister’s anxiety? Or, has Gap placed their bias on display? Share your thoughts below!