By Eana Maniebo
A THAI skin whitening advertisement uploaded on Friday has sparked a frenzy of hateful comments amid accusations of racism and discrimination.
The video features 35-year-old Thai star Cris Horwang speaking of her success in the entertainment industry. She emphasizes that the success she’s experiencing now is because of her white skin.
“Before I got to where I am right now, the competition was very tough. It’s not easy to stay here for a long time. Once I stop taking care of myself, everything I have dedicated, [and] the whiteness I have invested in, will be gone,” Horwang said.
She is then joined by another light-skinned model who is implied as the “new girl” that will replace Horwang if she doesn’t take good care of her white skin.
“The new girl who replaces me may make me stop shining,” Horwang says as her skin slowly turns black. The narrator then adds, “White is winning!”
As Horwang’s skin turns completely black, the new girl reveals a skin cream product called Snowz, which she uses to maintain her fair skin. The product guarantees whiter skin in two weeks.
“Just being white is enough to make you win,” the tagline reads.
The commercial was uploaded by cosmetic company Seoul Secret on its YouTube page. It later removed the video from its official channel but the ad can still be viewed online.
Thais have taken to online forums and social media to express their outrage over the advertisement. Many complain that the commercial condones the stigma of dark skin that is often associated with poverty.
“We would like to apologize for the mistake, and claim full responsibility for this incident. Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages,” Seoul Secret Thailand said in a statement.
The company added that other advertising materials related to the offensive video will no longer be released.
Although many consider this a mistake, activists argue that this was a “low ploy” to talk create buzz for the product.
“This was not due to ignorance, but a calculated strategy. Thai ad agencies are the worst of them all,” wrote Asian Correspondent contributor Kaewmala on Twitter.