Let’s maybe give Feed A Child’s founder and CEO Alza Rautenbach the benefit of doubt when she says she didn’t realize a recent ad depicting a white woman hand feeding a black child as he sits at her feet like a dog was racist. She told South African news network eNCA, “From Feed A Child’s side, we don’t look at color. To us there isn’t a black and a white and an Indian. … The reason was not to stir a negative reaction or offend anyone. We do apologize for that. To us it was a woman and a child.”
But you can’t tell me that no one in the South African humanitarian organization or at the ad agency, Oglivy & Mather, questioned the ad, which has now been pulled.
In one scene, it shows a white woman watching television while a young black boy lies on her lap and she is feeding him popcorn. In another, while the woman lies in bed, the boy delivers her a newspaper and he is rewarded with a piece of her breakfast. In one more scene, the woman is icing a cake and she holds out her finger for the boy to lick.
The commercial ends with the words: “The average domestic dog eats better than millions of children.”
According to Feed A Child, the commercial was intended to raise awareness about starving children “and the plight of many children in South Africa who go to bed hungry.”
“Unfortunately, the core message of the commercial became diluted or even lost through the interpretation thereof,” a note on the organization’s website reads.
The South Africa”s Advertising Standards Authority said it looked into the issue and “no further action” would be taken, reports News 24. According to ASA spokesperson Mpumi Mda, they had considered what action to take after receiving several complaints.
Feed a Child SA has since apologized for the commercial, pulled it from television channels and its YouTube channel. They even uploaded a video of Rautenbach apologizing and explaining the intent of the commercial.
“The directorate is therefore satisfied that the voluntary removal of the commercial and the accompanying apologies are adequate under the circumstances, and that no formal consideration of the merits of the matter is needed,” Mda said.
ASA has ordered Feed a Child SA to never broadcast the commerical again. You can still visit The Huffington Post for clips from the ad.