A trio of white North Carolina dentists got chewed up on social media for a controversial “whitening” ad that shows them dressed in stereotypical garb from other cultures.
Now they’re sorry and have removed the ad.
The Renaissance Dental Center in Raleigh placed the ad in a local magazine. It features the blond female dentists wearing what’s supposedly Scottish, Japanese and Native American traditional dress. The dentist in “Native American” clothing has her arms crossed over her chest like a parody of a character in an old Western.
“Everyone smiles in the same language!” reads the headline of the ad, which advertises a “free whitening system.”
The ad set social media users gnashing their teeth.
“You have to be PRETTY clueless to post such an [ad]. For real. The fact that someone had to TELL YOU it was racist is really sad,” someone wrote on the center’s Facebook page.
Another commenter suggested the clinic provide free dental care to local Native American tribes.
The center apologized for the “ignorant and offensive” advertisement on Twitter and Facebook Thursday.
“In one of our recent advertisements, we attempted to focus upon something that unites us … the warmth and joy behind a smile. We now realize it was ignorant and offensive, and we are truly sorry.”
In one of our recent advertisements, we attempted to focus upon something that unites us…the warmth and joy behind a smile. We now realize it was ignorant and offensive, and we are truly sorry. We have learned a valuable lesson in this situation. Again, our sincere apologies.— Renaissance Dental (@nhdentists) May 10, 2018
How could you NOT know?— JHbME (@jhurseymba) May 10, 2018
Like, this didn't occur to you beforehand? I just can't believe at least 3 educated people looked at that and thought, 'This is perfect!".— Hugh Hollowell (@hughlh) May 10, 2018
Gee, that's mighty white of ya...— Dallas B (@TheAutivist) May 10, 2018
hey thanks for the apology! and congrats on your women-run dental center, very impressive. I think many of us would appreciate it if you took concrete steps to learn about implicit bias, and perhaps to pay for damage done to your community, perhaps via a charitable donation.— Travis Nelson (@ihaverottenguts) May 10, 2018
The dentists frequently appear in costume in their ads — wearing workout outfits, soccer uniforms and hard hats, among other items, noted the Raleigh News & Observer. The former ad has been replaced online with one that shows the women in soccer uniforms.
Midtown Magazine publisher and editor Connie Gentry said the ad should not have run.
“In hindsight, clearly this was an inappropriate and insensitive ad to run. That was never our intent and it certainly wasn’t the intent of the advertiser,” Gentry told the local CBS-7 TV station. “As soon as it was called to our attention, that people were offended, we removed and replaced it.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.