Idol Chatter

Advertising is a tricky business, and apparently wearing the wrong scarf can send the message that “This company tolerates and supports terrorist organizations!” Sounds crazy? That’s because it is, as exemplified by the Dunkin’ Donuts recent pulling of an advertisement it was airing with spokesperson (and chef superstar) Rachael Ray wearing a scarf around her neck that resembled a keffiyeh, or traditional Arab scarf.
The offensive piece of fashion was slapped down by syndicated conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin (Fox also owns Beliefnet), who said that by wearing the scarf, Dunkin’ was dabbling in “distinctive hate couture.”

Muslims and Arabs answered back, saying that demonizing a single article of clothing was “ludicrous.” In a New York Post article, Ahmed Rehab, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said “Yes, it has symbolized Palestinians, but it’s also a yuppie fashion statement. I’ve seen young blond women wear it on the Tube in London and in Lincoln Park in Chicago. If it’s become a political statement, I didn’t get the memo on it.”
A Dunkin’ Donuts representative said the whole thing was blown out of proportion, and commenting on it was just “ridiculous.” But what I think is ridiculous was pulling the ad in the first place. Malkin says she wasn’t the only one offended, that numerous conservative blogs voiced their concerns about the ads. But since when do companies pull expensive advertisements off the air just because some folks find something offensive about it–something that is just not offensive to begin with?
I know other companies have pulled ads and products before that were deemed offensive to a group of people—like when Nike pulled 38,000 shoes off the shelves that had the logo “Air” on it in a style that made it look like Arabic script for the word “Allah.”
But here’s the difference. In Nike’s case, it was a logo that looked like a religious script on a shoe, which was offensive to Muslims the world over. And with Dunkin’ Donuts, the problem was a scarf with no overt religious symbolism at all. Just a pattern that resembled a keffiyeh, which is worn fashionably all over the world.
It’s a scarf, folks. A scarf bought by a stylist at a store to accent Ray’s outfit. Nothing more, nothing less. Have some backbone, Dunkin’!

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus