Darlie, a popular toothpaste brand in China also owned by Colgate and its joint venture partner Hawley & Hazel, is being reviewed for using blackface for its logo.
In a statement on June 18, Colgate explained they have been working with its partners in developing the logo for the toothpaste.
“For more than 35 years, we have been working together to evolve the brand, including substantial changes to the name, logo and packaging,” Colgate told Reuters via email. “We are currently working with our partner to review and further evolve all aspects of the brand, including the brand name.”
The brand, which has been long criticized for using a racist picture, is popular in many Asian countries, including the Philippines and Thailand, CNN reported.
Darlie, which is manufactured by Hawley & Hazel, became part of Colgate’s product line after it acquired the brand in 1985.
The imagery was reportedly used after the CEO of Hawley & Hazel visited the United States in the 1920s and saw actor Al Jolson performing in blackface in “The Jazz Singer.”
“The executive thought Jolson’s wide smile and bright teeth would make an excellent toothpaste logo,” Kerry Segrave, the author of “America Brushes Up,” wrote in the book.
Many U.S. church groups urged Colgate to trash the brand after the latter entered a joint venture with Hawley & Hazel. However, Colgate renamed the brand from Darkie to Darlie and changed its logo to a racially ambiguous man in a top hat and tuxedo in 1989.