Watsons Malaysia Has Issued A Second Apology After Deleting Their 'Legenda Cun Raya' Video
Yesterday, Watsons Malaysia uploaded a 15-minute 'Legenda Cun Raya' video, depicting the tale of a woman "cursed with black skin" with a beautiful voice
The elaborate festive video features some of Malaysia’s biggest celebrities including Ruhainies, Kamal Adli, Amber Chia, Raja Ilya, Thanuja Ananthan, and Nadine Ann Thomas among others.
Speaking about the ad, Customer Director Danny Hoh said, "This year we offer something different and unique that is relevant for all. This epic movie was carefully scripted to inject Watsons brand identity to include humour, wit and also over the top acting and characters."
The video is about a rich merchant named Al-Kazam who is searching for a mysterious girl whose beautiful voice haunts his dreams
While beautiful princesses from around the world audition to impress the rich merchant, he is smitten by the voice of one girl whose face is covered.
The rich merchant asks the girl to uncover her face, saying, "I think your face must be as beautiful as your voice. Show me your face."
But when the girl uncovers her face, Al-Kazam exclaims, "Oh my gossssh. Where are the lights?" A moment later, he then says in confusion, "She is actually dark?"
The merchant, however, still chooses her, who then surprises him by "washing" her face to reveal her fair complexion, explaining that it was "a test of Al-Kazam's sincerity" and that she is "flawless"
Watsons Malaysia said the ad campaign "was shot to highlight the legend and its moral values of inner beauty and that true love exists"
However, soon after the video was uploaded on Watsons Malaysia's Facebook page, it created a huge public uproar for using a blackface to portray ugliness.
While the pharmacy chain said that the video was referring to the folktale of Dayang Senandung who was born cursed with black skin, netizens were naturally enraged.
After all, the video, despite its message of inner beauty and true love, was still perpetuating the horrible stereotype that being black is a curse.
While Watsons Malaysia took down the video from its social media pages, the damage was already done. For the time it was up online, the video created a big controversy for the pharmacy chain.
I have been a loyal customer for years. With this super sexist, orientalist and racist ad, I am boycotting Watsons Malaysia #disappointing— Mrym. (@mrymler) June 7, 2017
According to Watsons Malaysia, Idris Elba is just one face-wash away from being eligible for James Bond.— Rohan Javet Beg (@RohanBeg) June 7, 2017
Dear Watsons Malaysia, apparently this terrible ad is for Raya, celebrated largely by BROWN communities. Please fire your marketing team. https://t.co/cxE6N6k28U— Iman Tanita al Ghul (@nocturnaltapir) June 7, 2017
Watsons then issued an apology, saying, "We are sorry that some of our fans feel offended by the video which was not our intention"
However, the apology was seen as inadequate by many.
Today, a second apology was issued by Caryn Loh, the General Manager and Country Head of Watsons Malaysia
In the second apology, the pharmacy chain expresses regret over the video.
"We deeply and sincerely apologise for our recent "Legenda Cun Raya" video which... was inspired by the Malay legend Dayang Senandong... It was our intention to convey concepts of inner and outer beauty, unfortunately, the video instead offended many," read the apology that was posted on Watsons Malaysia's Facebook page.
"Regretfully, we acknowledge that the “Legenda Cun Raya” video is not in-line with the values that we hold dearly in Malaysia. Watsons Malaysia takes responsibility for the video and its content and is truly sorry..."