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Watsons Malaysia issues an apology over blackface Raya ad


Yesterday, Watsons Malaysia had posted a 15-minute long video in conjunction with the upcoming Hari Raya celebration.

The video which was part of its Watson Legenda Cun campaign has since been removed after receiving tremendous backlash from netizens for the use of blackface.

The commercial is about a rich merchant played by Kamal Adli, who holds a talent audition in hopes of meeting the mysterious girl with the beautiful voice, played by Ruhainies who keeps appearing in his dreams.


The rich merchant was initially shocked to find out that the girl has dark skin but chose her as a winner nonetheless.


The girl then reappears as a beautiful woman with fair skin and told the merchant that she was only testing him, and the merchant was relieved to know that she is not really dark skinned.


The ad obviously didn't sit well with many people, having been labelled as racist, sexist, insensitive and tasteless.


Watsons Malaysia has issued an apology today, claiming that the video was not intended to promote racism as it was based on a Malay folklore.

“Watsons Malaysia is aware of the post that has been made viral on social media.
A post on 7th June 2017 regarding a video by Watsons talks about the legend of Dayang Senandong. The Legend of Dayang Senandong is a Malay folklore about a lady who was born cursed with black skin but blessed with a beautiful voice. The legend depicts that the king fell in love with Dayang Senandong because of her voice and inner beauty. The curse was lifted after Dayang Senandong gave birth to the king’s child.
We stand firm on the belief that unity and fairness plays an important role, and we respect people from all nationalities. The video was shot to highlight the Legend and its moral values of inner beauty and that true love exists. We are sorry that some of our fans feel offended by the video which was not our intention. We take feedback from our fans seriously.
Your continued support will be greatly appreciated and any feedbacks from you will help in improving our services.
Maaf Zahir dan Batin.
Thank you.”

The ad featured a number of Malaysian celebrities including Amber Chia, Uqasha Senrose, Sasha Saidin, Raja Ilya, Thanuja, Luqman Hafidz and more.


Meanwhile, rival Guardian Malaysia too has posted a somewhat similar ad for its Raya campaign yesterday.

The 4-minute ad depicts a similar storyline where a prince was saved by a lady with a lovely voice named Bawang Merah.

However, due to her bad skin complexion, she was regarded as not beautiful.

But the prince doesn’t mind her skin, stressing that it is the heart that counts, even though later on he took his bride-to-be to Guardian to purchase some beauty products.

With the help of the products, Bawang Merah turned beautiful inside and out, and the two lives happily ever after.

The ad by Guardian Malaysia has garnered mostly positive reception from netizens who described the video as creative and funny.

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