How hard can it be to find a Black actor to play a Black man in a commercial?
Apparently, it was a difficult task for the executives at Alitalia Air to tackle as seen in a video ad that uses a white man in blackface to portray President Barack Obama.
Alitalia is getting slammed on social media after the carrier posted the commercial to its YouTube page with the man in blackface portraying the former president, along with other white actors as Presidents Donald Trump, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, PEOPLE reports.
As a result of the backlash the airline issued an apology but it sounds like it’s too late.
“This flew under the radar (no pun intended).,” wrote #OscarsSoWhite hashtag creator April Reign. “Alitalia dropped an ad featuring a white actor in blackface portraying President Obama. In 2019. Read that again.”
— April (@ReignOfApril) July 4, 2019
The video has been since taken down from their YouTube page but not before people tore into that company’s insensitive casting choice.
Many are calling the ad racist not only for its depiction of Obama but for fanning the flames about the birther controversy that plagued him through his presidency thanks to Trump.
According to The Washington Post, in the video an interviewer asks people if they recognize who Obama is, and follows up and asks if they know where he was born. One person answers, “in Africa.”