30th May 2011
Naomi Campbell is considering taking legal action against Cadbury after claiming a ‘racist’ advertisement compares her to a chocolate bar.
The supermodel said she was shocked and hurt to see her name on billboards and in newspapers next to the Dairy Milk Bliss bar.
Black civil rights groups have urged shoppers to boycott products of Cadbury’s U.S. parent company, Kraft Foods.
And Miss Campbell, who is known for being litigious, said she is currently considering taking ‘every available option’ over the adverts that appeared in a national newspaper last week and in supermarkets, reading, ‘Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town’.
She said: ‘I am shocked. It’s upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me but for all black women and black people.I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful.’
Her mother, Valerie Morris, supported her daughter’s stance, saying: ‘I’m deeply upset by this racist advert.
Do these people think they can insult black people and we just take it? This is the 21st century, not the 1950s. Shame on Cadbury.’
Black rights group Operation Black Vote has called for Cadbury to apologise after receiving dozens of complaints about the advert from members of the public.
Simon Woolley, from the group, said that without an apology, the ‘only recourse black people have is not to buy its chocolate’.
He has written to the American civil rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to ask them to mobilise the country’s Afro-American population in a boycott of Kraft goods.
‘I want them to know what their parent company is doing in Europe. I’ve asked them to support us,’ he said.
Being likened to chocolate was as bad as being called a golliwog for black people, he added.
‘Racism in the playground starts with black children being called “chocolate bar”.
‘At best, this is insensitive – and at worst it demonstrates Cadbury’s utter disregard for causing offence. Its lack of apology just adds insult to injury.
‘It’s particularly galling because we’ve just had a week that saw the establishment fall over themselves to be close to the Obamas and yet black people are being derided in such an insulting and negative way.'
Lee Jasper, who was senior equalities adviser to Ken Livingstone when he was London’s Mayor, said: ‘This issue is not just about the insult to Naomi Campbell. It’s about how these companies treat black people in general. Part of the problem is that they don’t see it as offensive.’
Kraft Foods said the poster has been removed and there are no plans to repeat it.
A statement read: ‘It was certainly never our intention to cause any offence and the campaign itself is a light-hearted take on the social pretensions of Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss.’