Marie Lodi
April 04, 2016 1:45 pm

The idea behind Ellen DeGeneres’ clothing line for Gap Kids is supposed to be about empowerment and inspiring young girls to explore their passions. In fact, every sale from the collection benefits the nonprofit organization Girls Inc. Unfortunately, the latest ad campaign for the line includes a terribly misstep that has enraged Twitter users.

On April 2, the retailer tweeted a series of photos with the caption, “meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.” While the images included a girl with a telescope and two others breakdancing and deejaying, a fourth photo was the one causing controversy. In it, one white child is performing a handstand while another is extending her leg in a ballerina pose. They are both surrounding another white child who is leaning her arm on top of a black child. Twitter users are calling out the image for being racist.


We can see why this photo is making people upset. If the campaign is supposed to be about empowering children, why is the black child reduced to being a mere armrest? She’s not even smiling.

In the past, Gap has been praised for featuring diversity in their marketing — in 2014, they featured Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia and 9-year-old Down syndrome model, Kayla Kosmalski, the year after. This particular photo was clearly an oversight, but a bad one, especially considering that it more than likely had to go through a chain of approval. We would hope someone at Gap would have known this was wrong before releasing it to the public.