Three dentists in North Carolina sparked fury on social media after wearing traditional dresses of other cultures for a “whitening” advert.
The dentists, identified as Anita Wells, Jill Sonner, and Anna Abernethy, wore what appeared to be Japanese, Native American, and Scottish garb in the ad of Renaissance Dental Center, which was published in Midtown Magazine.
“Everyone smiles in the same language!” the headline said above the all-blonde trio, who were endorsing a “free whitening system.”
The ad immediately raised furor on social media, with people accusing Renaissance of being insensitive and racist.
In response to the backlash, the dental office later apologized, calling the ad “ignorant and offensive.”
“In hindsight, clearly this was an inappropriate and insensitive ad to run. That was never our intent and it certainly wasn’t the intent of the advertiser,” Connie Gentry, publisher of Midtown Magazine, told CBS 17. “As soon as it was called to our attention, that people were offended, we removed and replaced it.”
According to Gentry, Midtown will continue working with Renaissance, which has been its partner for several years.
“I’m truly sorry this mistake was made; it simply never occurred to the team at Renaissance Dental or our team at Midtown that the ad would be perceived as anything other than how it was intended,” The News & Observer quoted Gentry as saying.
The controversial ad was replaced with a picture of the same dentists in referee uniforms.
Netizens replied to the center’s apology: