Luxury fashion companies just can’t seem to stop landing themselves in hot water for dumbfounding displays of racism and cultural insensitivity. Earlier this year, Gucci found themselves under fire for a “blackface sweater;” the year before, they sparked outrage for putting Sikh turbans on white models and then selling them for $800. Now, it’s Dior on the hotseat for an astonishingly offensive perfume ad campaign.
Dior premiered a new ad today that had all the hallmarks of corporate performative wokeness, promising an “authentic journey deep into the Native American soul.”
The problem? They named it “Sauvage” — French for “wild” or quite literally “savage.”
“Savage,” of course, is a term used by European colonists for centuries to dehumanize Native Americans and to justify their genocide.
How this campaign at a multi-million dollar company could pass through so many layers of approval and not have one person think to speak out against this truly blows the mind.
To add insult to injury? The star of the campaign is actor Johnny Depp, recently accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend Amber Heard.
This ad is unlisted on YouTube so that's why it hasn't gotten as much attention as the teaser in the first tweet in this thread.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 30, 2019
All these incidents taken together indicate that there is severe racism — or at the very least, deep-rooted insensitivity to other cultures ingrained in the fashion industry.
Social media immediately let Dior have it:
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 30, 2019
Who tf do you have working in your marketing team? Archie bunker?
— pokey pup (@Whatapityonyou) August 30, 2019
Wow. Hire some non-white people for your ad department, for goodness sakes.
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@PaulWuster) August 30, 2019
and it's called "Sauvage"? Sounds like this was all very well thought out
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 30, 2019
This is some racist Zoolander shit
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) August 30, 2019
This has got to be that thing where companies try to use outrage as a marketing tool, right?
— coffeespoonie (@coffeespoonie) August 30, 2019
— Lana Del Shade. (@TasteThisSass) August 30, 2019
— Dani (@xodanix3) August 30, 2019
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.