Well. This is a commercial for a Chinese detergent brand called Qiaobi that was uploaded onto YouTube on Wednesday. It is racist. Very, very racist.
So far the video — which starts off innocently enough with a Chinese woman washing clothes — has garnered over 16,000 views.
Then this black man with paint on his face and shirt walks in and gives a classic wolf whistle. Some of you may already see where this is going.
After inviting him closer, the woman stuffs a laundry detergent capsule in his mouth and shoves him into the washing machine.
Yup. That really happened. She put a black man through the washing machine and he came out Chinese.
Just look at him. So "clean." So "white." The perfect ambassador for the magic of the detergent.
The product is a new laundry bead product promoted by Qiaobi, a "star brand that creates a new concept for scientifically doing laundry," according to a press release published on state-run news website China.com.cn.
When the company realized that they had angered a lot of people, they apologized but claimed international media had been too sensitive.
"We express regret that the ad should have caused a controversy," they said in a statement issued Saturday. "But we will not shun responsibility for controversial content."
"We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media," the company said.
"We sincerely hope the public and the media will not over-read it."
When speaking to the Chinese nationalist newspaper The Global Times, company spokesperson Mr Wang, said the critics were "too sensitive," and the issue of racial discrimination never came up during the production of the video.
(As Shanghaiist noted, the ad's structure resembles this Italian ad from about nine years ago, which — while not necessarily racist — is certainly still very problematic.)
(Many of the top-rated among the nearly 1,000 comments on the video itself, however, are as racist as the ad itself, because YouTube.)
But it hasn't blown up the same way in China yet. According to Shanghaiist, the commercial has appeared on Chinese TV and, as shown in this poster, in cinemas as well. It remains unclear how much of an audience base it has reached, though.
But those in China who have seen it realized quickly that something's wrong with the commercial — as one user comments, “If this were in North America, [the company] would be sued for racism.”
When it comes to racism against black people, China is not always as extreme as in this commercial. But it can be pretty bad.
Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.
Contact Beimeng Fu at email@example.com.
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