Dunkin' Donuts apologises for blatantly racist advert in Egypt

Dunkin' Donuts apologises for blatantly racist advert in Egypt

Dunkin' Donuts has made a public apology on behalf of its Egyptian franchisee after an anti-black online advertisement for glazed doughnuts led to a social media backlash.

3 min read
28 Sep, 2016
The franchise to quickly removed the offending advert after an online backlash [Twitter]

Dunkin' Donuts has made a public apology on behalf of its Egyptian franchisee after putting out an online advertisement widely viewed as racist and leading to a social media backlash.

Last week, Dunkin' Donuts Egypt decided it was a good idea to post an ad on its Instagram account of a chocolate glazed doughnut next to a sugar-frosted one.

The caption read: "Blackness equals a half beauty. Whiteness equals total beauty".

The slogan played on an old-fashioned folk proverb now widely deemed by many Egyptians as being highly offensive.

To make things worse the accompanying text read: "Because we are against racism we'll eat both not just one. Which will you choose?"

It wasn't long before social media users caught wind of the ad, prompting the franchise to quickly remove the offending image.

On Tuesday, a Dunkin' Donuts spokesperson made an apology to Egyptian state media: "As soon as we became aware of the social media post by our Egyptian franchisee, we asked for it to be removed. Our franchisee immediately complied. We apologise for the offence this posting caused."

The Egyptian franchisee, however, has yet to issue a statement of its own on the incident.


Egyptian newspapers have used highly offensive terms
when blaming criminal activity on black communities

Egypt's black community constitutes a substantial proportion of its population. Yet many Egyptians consider them an inferior minority, subjecting them to varying degrees of racial discrimination.

The folk saying used in the doughnut advert perpetuates the commonly-held belief that having pale skin - especially with women - is more desirable and attractive than dark skin.

Nubians, who have markedly more African features than most Egyptians, have long been presented in films as either bumbling illiterate caricatures or as obedient domestic workers and doormen.

Meanwhile Nubian women appear as nannies, maids or exotic fortune tellers.

In May, an Egyptian official landed himself in hot water after its envoy to a UN meeting in Nairobi described sub-Saharan African nations as "dogs and slaves".

A major Egyptian newspaper used the word Zunouj, Arabic for "n******", for a front-page story in July on the Black Lives Matter protests in the US.

Sudanese and Nubian people living in Egypt have previously told The New Arab about their experiences in the country and the kind of ill treatment they were subjected to based on the colour of their skin.

"In the street, people call you different names if you are black, like chocolate or blacky," Mamado Hawary, a Sudanese-Egyptian living in Cairo said.

"Also zarboon, which means slave."