In an attempt to reach out to Canadian consumers, Ancestry.com recently released a controversial ad that many believe is extremely tone-deaf, to say the least.
The advertisement, titled “Inseparable,” features a White man attempting to convince his Black partner, a slave, to flee the American south with him to Canada where they can live freely together.
“Abigail,” the man says, pulling a ring from his pocket. “We can escape to the North. There’s a place we can be together, across the border.”
The 30-second spot, posted to Ancestry’s YouTube channel on April 2, was pulled after receiving immediate backlash on social media, according to Buzzfeed News. Viewers accused Ancestry, one of the most popular at-home DNA testing companies, of attempting to whitewash and literally romanticize the horrors of slavery, as biracial children of this era were often the result of rape against enslaved Black women.
The company has since apologized:
“Ancestry is committed to telling important stories from history,” the company said. “This ad was intended to represent one of those stories. We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.