A Gap Inc. clothing advertisement featuring a turbaned Sikh model was recently defaced with derogatory racial comments in a New York Subway station.
The ad features Indian Sikh-American actor and fashion designer Waris Ahluwahlia, who stands next to a female model with the caption “Make Love.” followed by the Gap logo.
According to the Daily Beast, an unidentified person scratched out “Make Love” and replaced it with “Make Bombs.”
Another vandal wrote “Please stop driving taxis” across the ad.
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Twitter user Arsalan Iftikhar (@TheMuslimGuy), senior editor at The Islamic Monthly and founder of TheMuslimGuy.com, was the first to bring the vandalism to Gap’s attention.
“When I first saw my Facebook friend’s photo of this GAP subway advertisement defaced by vandals with racist messages, I wanted the world to see how millions of brown people are viewed in America today,” Iftikhar told The Huffington Post.
Iftikhar tweeted a photo of the ad (pictured), along with the caption “On this Gap Subway ad featured a Sikh man…Vandals have written ‘Make Bombs’ and ‘Please stop driving taxis’”.
Gap responded to Iftikhar’s tweet the next day, inquiring about the location of the ad. According to the Huffington Post, the company immediately changed its Twitter background to the photo of the models in an act of solidarity.
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Now, the ad is receiving more attention than ever.
The company’s actions have been applauded by Sikhs and Muslims alike, notes the Huffington Post, and many individuals are impressed with the company’s quick response.
Members of the Sikh community have reportedly created a Thank You, Gap campaign in appreciation of the company’s inclusion of the Sikh model.
“By placing a Sikh model in prominent locations on billboards, direct mail advertising and digital channels, you have raised the profile of Sikhs in ways the community couldn’t have accomplished with its limited resources,” a member of the campaign wrote to the company. “The community has tremendously benefitted from the attention it has received through Gap’s marketing campaign.”
The ad is reportedly part of Gap’s “#MakeLove” campaign, which showcases a variety of diverse models.