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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Watsons' 'racist' Hari Raya advertisement slammed by netizens

Outraged netizens slam Watsons' 'racist' Hari Raya advertisement, demand it be taken down

Watsons Malaysia Gets Major Backlash from Netizens Over Racist Advertisement - World Of Buzz 5

NST

KUALA LUMPUR: A Hari Raya advertisement recently posted on Facebook has triggered collective ‘facepalming’ among local netizens – ‘black face’ facepalming, to be precise.
Malaysia has had its fair share of insensitive, disrespectful and even outrageous ads – but Watsons Lëgënda Cun Raya takes the (bad-tasting) cake, with its overtly racist theme – not to mention ‘lookist’, sexist and body-shaming overtones.
Though boasting high production values and a large cast of A-listers and extras, the epic 15-minute mini-movie is overproduced, derivative and unfunny – but its biggest crime is equating dark skin with extreme ugliness, dirt and even monstrousness.
Borrowing heavily from P. Ramlee’s classic faux-Arabia movies, Lëgënda Cun Raya is a meandering fairy tale centring on Prince Al-Kazam, played by Kamal Adli, who launches a search for the honey-voiced woman who appears in his dreams, but whose face he never sees.
After fielding women from across the kingdom whose beautiful faces belie ugly singing voices, one woman, Harum Senandung, proves herself to be the woman literally of the Prince’s dreams.
In awe of her singing, the Prince cajoles Harum to reveal her face, which she had been demurely shielding behind a songket scarf. She obliges, and reveals her pretty face with its charcoal-black complexion – to the horror and disgust of all around.
In spite of her “hideousness”, the Prince must prove himself to be a man of his word and marry Harum – but the day is saved by (we are to assume) some kind of facial wash sold at Watsons, because it turns out that Harum had been pulling a fast one on the Prince, making herself look “ugly” by smearing her face with dirt to test his sincerity. She had slipped away amidst the hullaballoo to wash herself, and now sports preposterously glowing white skin.
But netizens have been left red-faced with fury, and the video, which has so far garnered 300,000 views has been roundly savaged.
Many have questioned Watsons’ poor judgement in creating an advertisement that is unquestionably racist, denigrating people with dark skin. The ‘lookist’ aspect of the ad – which should have been a ‘The Voice’ audition, not a beauty pageant of supermodels; not to mention the sexism of having men judge women as sex objects, and women invariably behaving like petty, vain, airheaded children desperate for attention was also not lost on netizens. And the lone plus-sized woman in the production was seen as nothing but a sight gag – a “fattie” who did not stand a chance in the competition (but is good for a laugh).
"Your advertisement is making fun of how the dark-skinned character needs to go through great lengths (ie using your product) to whiten her complexion, thereafter gaining the love of another character," Facebook user Maisyarah Akmal Yaakob said.
"This advertisement should be taken down and Watsons should apologise for being so despicably racist and insensitive. You cannot simply equate being black with ugliness," said netizen Anis Baharin.


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