Watsons Malaysia has released its newest Raya advert on Facebook and people are not impressed. Many criticised the company for being racist and insensitive.
The 15-minute video follows a rich, handsome man named Saudagar Kaya Al-Kazam who holds an audition called “Legenda Cun Raya” to find the woman behind the beautiful voice that appears in his dreams.
The audition is open to all the ladies and it sees the participation of princesses and beauties around the world. The woman who possess the voice in his dreams finally appears but when she removes her veil, Al-Kazam is shocked and terrified by her “blackface”.
“Oh my gosh! Where are the lights? She is actually dark?” he said.
Just in case you didn’t know, blackface was a style of entertainment based on black stereotypes that gained popularity in the mid-19th century. Today, blackface is considered both derogatory and racist.
Despite her dark look, Al-Kazam announces her as the winner of the audition. This time, she appears “more beautiful” and tells him that she “just want to test his sincerity”.
First things first, people with dark skin are not ugly. As a multicultural country, us Malaysians have varying shades of tans. Thus, equating dark skin to being unattractive, so much so that it results in abject horror and sheer disgusted (as seen in the video) is not cool. Also, Raya adverts are supposed to bring people together, not discriminate their skin colour.
Facebook user Deborah Wong commented, “This (advert) is incredibly tasteless, insensitive, and racist. Do you really have no better way to express ‘ugliness’ than being black? Are people born with dark skin supposed to feel insecure and unhappy about the skin they’re born in just so you can sell a few more whitening products?”
You can watch the full video below:
We’re very disappointed in you, Watsons Malaysia.
UPDATE (7th June 2017, 8:49pm):
Watsons Malaysia has removed the “Legenda Cun Raya” video following backlash from netizens and in its place, an official apology.
In a post on their Facebook page, Watsons Malaysia explained the “concept” behind their controversial Raya ad before going on to say, “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.”
Read their statement in full below:
UPDATE (8th June 2017, 5:30pm):
Watsons Malaysia has issued yet another public apology on their Facebook page, this time, authorised and undersigned by Watsons Malaysia’s General Manager and Country Head Caryn Loh. Caryn expressed deep regret in her statement, acknowledging that the “Legenda Cun Raya” video was not “in-line with the values we hold dearly in Malaysia”. She went on to say, “On behalf of Watsons Malaysia we humbly seek your forgiveness and deeply regret any harm that we have caused.”
Read it in full below:
In other news, here are some feel-good Raya adverts made in 2016 to soothe your anger.
Source: Watsons Malaysia.