Last month, The Ivy Asia issued a formal apology after its ‘culturally insensitive’ and ‘totally inappropriate’ ad campaign sparked outrage from critics and members of the public.
The now-deleted social media video featured two characters dressed as Geishas in a series of humiliating scenarios, including the end scene where they fall through the restaurant doors in front of a crowd of judgemental faces.
The video was shared widely on social media, with many people accusing it of being racist and fuelling anti-Asian stereotypes. In response, The Ivy Asia said it was done ‘naively’ and with a ‘complete ignorance of understanding’.
The problem here is that no matter how sincere the apology is, the damage has already been done. Viewers have been subjected to clear racial stereotyping that will only serve to affirm the unconscious biases they’ve accumulated throughout their lifetime; the racial stereotypes that exist all around us, both overt and covert.