Online advertisement for skin-whitening pills shows Thai model slowly turning black and saying she owes her success to having white skin
An advertisement for skin-whitening pills with the slogan white makes you win and featuring a Thai celebrity attributing her success to her pale complexion caused outrage and accusations of racism within hours of being posted online.
Thai skincare company Seoul Secret quickly apologised and removed all content related to the 50-second video after it went viral and was lambasted for having racist overtones.
It features Cris Horwang a 35-year-old actor, model, singer and dance teacher saying the whiteness she achieved through beauty products had brought her fame.
Before I got to this point, the competition was very high. If I stop taking care of myself, everything I have worked for, the whiteness I have invested in, may be lost, she says.
The video shows another fair-skinned woman and Cris refers to her, saying: The new kids will replace me, will make me a faded star. Criss skin slowly turns black as the other model remains white.
White makes you win, the narrator says, adding that the product, labelled Snowz, includes glutathione, a compound taken from kiwi seeds that helps you not return to black.
On one popular online forum, Thai people chastised the video. You shouldnt use skin colour as a comparison to make another people look bad, Thammaijung wrote. Its like saying if you happened to be born black, you always lose. The way you patronise people with black skin as losers is clearly racist.
Seoul Secret said on Facebook it would like to apologise for the mistake, and claim full responsibility for the incident. Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages.What we intended to convey was that self-improvement in terms of personality, appearance, skills and professionality is crucial.
As in many Asian countries, skin-whitening products are popular in Thailand. While there are many creams that help lighten complexions, there has also been a growth in alternative whitening techniques including a cheap chlorine soap that was sold online last year despite doctors warning of dangerous irritations.
Another was investigated by the Thai Food and Drug Administration over claims it contained salmon sperm.
Parts of Thai society have recently hit back at the whitening craze. Tan, a magazine celebrating sunkissed skin, launched last year and in 2014 Maeya Nonthawan, a darker skinned model, won the Miss Thailand World pageant.
Cris has 2.2 million followers on Instagram and one of her recent uploaded photos shows her sunbathing by the sea.