Watsons Malaysia recently came under scrutiny for a racist advertisement which surfaced on social media, and critics are yet to accept their apologies.
Produced just on time as the Asian country celebrates Eid al-Fitr, the controversial clip received huge criticisms for depicting blacks as unattractive and untalented.
It was about a black-faced woman, or rather a pretty Asian actress whose face was painted so black to portray the color as ugly.
The 15-minute long promotional video was titled Legenda Cun Raya Watsons.
Translated as “The Legendary Beauty of Watsons,” the short flick focused on a fiction about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the video, an unmarried wealthy prince was searching for a soulmate, and his messenger was given orders to seek a woman with a melodious voice, similar to the one who appeared in his dreams.
Letters were sent to other kingdoms around the world. Soon, a large number of single women from different races gathered with the hope of being chosen. Pretty women from Europe, East and Central Asia took part in the audition as Saudi’s prince watched in desperation.
He learnt that only one of the women could sing, even better than the angels, but she was covered with a veil.
Shortly before the video ended, the prince insisted that she removes her burqa but was saddened to find a black-faced woman.
He blamed the darkened color on lack of proper lighting, which he believed could have shade some light on her appearance.
The prince finally made his choice but not until he verbally accessed the other beautiful women and their jaw-dropping looks. In the end, he chose the questionably black woman. Wrong choice or a good one?
It was later revealed that the woman with a beautiful voice who he had thought to be black, was actually fair-skinned. That was supposed to be a test on what the prince thinks about being black, talented and lovable.
Watsons took down the controversial video and tendered an apology after netizens criticized ‘Hari Raya.’
Here’s Watson’s Facebook post dated 7 June, 2017:
Watsons Malaysia is aware of the post that has been made viral on social media.
A post on 7th June 2017 regarding a video by Watsons talks about the legend of Dayang Senandong. The Legend of Dayang Senandong is a Malay folklore about a lady who was born cursed with black skin but blessed with a beautiful voice. The legend depicts that the king fell in love with Dayang Senandong because of her voice and inner beauty. The curse was lifted after Dayang Senandong gave birth to the king’s child.
We stand firm on the belief that unity and fairness plays an important role, and we respect people from all nationalities. The video was shot to highlight the Legend and its moral values of inner beauty and that true love exists. We are sorry that some of our fans feel offended by the video which was not our intention. We take feedback from our fans seriously.
Your continued support will be greatly appreciated and any feedbacks from you will help in improving our services.
Maaf Zahir dan Batin.
“If this were true, you’d have issued a proper apology rather than this sorry-not-sorry statement,” a disgruntled netizen Omar Michael argued, according to a report from the Malaysian Digest.