An Italian airline made an epic gaffe in casting an actor in blackface to portray President Barack Obama as part of a new campaign. Alitalia, Italy’s flag carrier, was promoting a new non-stop line from Rome to Washington, D.C., and has since apologized for the offensive video.
Yahoo! Lifestyle reports:
Alitalia, Italy’s flag carrier airline, quickly faced backlash on social media for the video, which was promoting the airline’s new nonstop flight route from Rome to Washington. The video, which has since been removed from the company’s social media channels, depicted ‘Obama’ finding his way to Washington; three other videos in the series included actors playing President Trump, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln making similar trips.
“The ad is ‘unwatchable.’ It paints a perfect picture of a sovereignist little Italy that is proud of its ignorance and still remembers Obama as the “handsome and tanned” president, as Berlusconi once described him,” said Leonardo de Franceschi, a researcher at the University of Rome who confronted the airline over the advert on Facebook.
At first, Alitalia officials appeared to push back against the critics and even said the claims were exaggerated according to one report. However, the airline finally relented and on July 3, it issued a formal apology to all who may have taken offense.