A German skincare company has been forced to rethink an advertising campaign following accusations of racism—again. An ad for Nivea's Invisible For Black & White deodorant with the tagline "white is purity" was posted to the company's Middle East Facebook page earlier this week, the New York Times reports. The backlash on social media was swift. "This is so racist that I do not even know where to begin," CNN quotes one typical response on Twitter. But the controversial ad wasn't unpopular with everyone. Racists and white supremacists on 4Chan and Twitter celebrated it as proof that Nivea was on their side.
Nivea deleted the ad on Tuesday, with a spokesperson saying the company believes in diversity and is "deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post," the BBC reports. A representative for Beiersdorf, Nivea's parent company, says the intent of the campaign was to portray the colors white as purity and black as strength; they didn't mean to "hurt anybody." Nivea has been here before. Back in 2011, the company ran an ad that showed a black man holding a black mannequin's Afro with the tagline "re-civilize yourself." In its apology for that ad, Nivea called it "inappropriate and offensive." (Read more Nivea stories.)