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Alitalia Releases New Ad Featuring Actor in Blackface Portraying President Obama

July 03, 2019
2 min read
Alitalia Releases New Ad Featuring Actor in Blackface Portraying President Obama
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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. TPG Managing Editor Alberto Riva, who captured the screenshot above, said in a tweet that the video also featured people saying President Obama was "born in Africa."

The video quickly generated backlash for the racist 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 apologizes for the offense" and that the company will "learn from what has happened":

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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.

This post has been updated to include an apology tweeted by Alitalia.

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images