Alitalia Releases New Ad Featuring Actor in Blackface Portraying President Obama

Jul 4, 2019

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SkyTeam Alliance carrier Alitalia dropped a new ad earlier this week for its recently returned Rome-to-Washington DC flights featuring a white actor in blackface portraying President Obama.

Titled “Where is Washington Mr. Obama?”, the video was uploaded to the airline’s official YouTube channel but not before it was seen and shared by thousands of shocked viewers.

The video quickly generated significant backlash for the racist, out-dated nature of its content and has been pulled down as of Wednesday afternoon. Alitalia did not return TPG‘s request for comment, but issued the following tweet in the aftermath saying it “deeply apologises for the offence” and that the company will “learn from what has happened”:

Alitalia, which has recently been in talks to join forces with Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, launched the new route from Rome to DC in May, returning to the US capital after a nearly 15-year hiatus.

Featured image by Ryan Patterson / The Patterson

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