Genealogy company Ancestry.com recently issued an apology for their latest slavery-inspired advertisement entitled, “Inseparable.”
The commercial portrays a Civil War era, interracial couple, romanticizing running away to the North. A Black woman named “Abigail” can be seen gazing in the eyes of a White male, who is holding a ring, seemingly proposing that the two get married.
“Abigail, we can escape to the North. There is a place we can be together. Across the border. Will you be with me?”
Before the woman can even utter a response, the screen cuts off and the words, “Without you, the story stops here,” come across the screen.
One of about 1,000 awful things about this commercial is it ignores the fact that for black Americans – myself included – and for others in the diaspora, DNA and documentary ancestry information is as painful and traumatic as it is illuminating. These are not love stories. https://t.co/tuTpHwmnGk
— Kimberly Atkins (@KimberlyEAtkins) April 18, 2019
Needless to say, the ad, which went live on both television and digital networks on April 15, was met with heavy Blacklash for what many felt was the company whitewashing slavery. Those oppose to the commercial were quick to remind the DNA company that mixed race “couples” were hardly couples at all, but rather gruesome rapes between female slaves and their slave owners.
In an email statement to CBS News, the renowned genealogy website said that the ad was intended to be part of its effort in telling “important stories from history.”
“This ad was intended to represent one of those stories. We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused. We are in the process of pulling the ad from television and have removed it from YouTube,” Ancestory.com said.
M.J. McCallum, creative director of Muse Communications, called the ad “thoughtless,” but said it could happen to any company that doesn’t prioritize having diverse representation in its ranks.
The “Inseparable” commercial has since been removed from television and the comapny’s official Youtube channel.