Ancestry Pulls Ad That Exploits And Makes Light Of History Of Slavery

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Written by Ann Brown
Ancestry
Photo: Photo: Ancestry.com Youtube

Ancestry suffered a major ad fail recently. A commercial that was to help the at-home DNA testing company reach out to Canadian consumers backfired.

The commercial is set during the Civil War Era in the American South. Titled “Inseparable,” it featured a white man trying to convince his Black love interest, a slave named Abigail, to flee the American south with him to Canada where they can live freely together. As she consider his proposal, he asks: “Will you leave with me?”

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Next, the text, “Without you, the story stops here” pop up on a black screen.

“Viewers accused Ancestry…of attempting to whitewash and literally romanticize the horrors of slavery, as biracial children of this era were often the result of rape against enslaved Black women,” Ebony reported.

Critics of the 30-second ad spot, which posted to Ancestry’s YouTube channel on April 2, charged that Ancestry.com romanticized race relations during the Civil War era.

“The ad was offensive to many. Critics pointed out that it exploits the plight of African Americans and makes light of the brutal history of slavery in the U.S.,” The Huffington Post reported.

“Ancestry is committed to 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.”