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Company Pulls Chocolate Ducks From Shelves After Labeling Deemed 'Racist'

When you're creating a product, it's easy to get tunnel vision. Focusing on the goal at hand while ignoring everything that's unrelated is a good way to power through the project. Unfortunately, when all angles aren't considered, you come up with something unfortunate...something like a racist chocolate duck.

No one wants to be labelled a racist.

Wikimedia Commons | John Darroch

Well, some people are probably okay with this, but most probably aren't. Extending the premise slightly to include corporate entities, it's a safe bet that no company wants people to think that they're racist.

Sometimes, mistakes are made.

Back to the tunnel vision discussion: sometimes a given design or certain language seems great in a vacuum, but the execution can lead to some ugly questions. As we'll see, many companies have been inadvertantly racist.

Blackface is never a good look.

Twitter | @larryelder

It's hard to know what Gucci was going for with this sweater, but they were quick to pull it out of stores and issue an apology. It's truly unfortunate that this all happened during Black History Month.

Once again: blackface is not a good look.

Twitter | @KimCrayton1

It was just a couple of months ago that pop star Katy Perry was criticized for some truly unfortunate shoes. Yes, the shoes came in different "races", but the black one is pretty reminiscent of blackface.

Sometimes the imagery is different, but still racist.

Twitter | @CNN

One of the great corporate screw-ups of all time came in early 2017 when a footwear brand realized that the treads on a certain model of boots literally left tiny swastika imprints on the ground everywhere the wearer went.

Now a U.K. grocery store has come under fire.

Wikimedia Commons | Philafrenzy

The latest accidental corporate racists to hit the news? Waitrose, a chain of grocery stores with locations throughout Great Britain.

It seems a certain Easter product was a little too racist for some shoppers.

A lot of people have made their own opinions on it, but we'll let you take a look and see what you think.

Here's the offending product.

Twitter | @livia_aliberti

Waitrose is selling this trio of chocolate ducks for Easter. There are three distinct chocolatey treats, all wrapped up in attractive Easter-themed packaging.

What could possibly be offensive about something like this?

At first glance they're just...chocolates. Different colors of chocolates yes, but if you saw this sitting on a shelf, most of you would go "yeah, those are ducks" and carry on.

What's in a name?

Twitter | @livia_aliberti

Honestly, quite a bit. Each of the three chocolate ducks has a name to give it some personality. The milk chocolate duck is called 'Crispy'. The white chocolate duck is called 'Fluffy'. But just wait...


Twitter | @livia_aliberti

The third chocolate duck, the one with the darkest hue, is called...Ugly. Yeah.

How do you even explain something like that?

Considering the first two, lighter-colored ducks have cute names, you can see how naming the darkest one 'Ugly' could lead to some uncomfortable questions.

People noticed.

Twitter | @livia_aliberti

In our modern age of hyper-connectedness, it doesn't take long at all for news to travel through social media. Waitrose's little chocolate duck snafu has gone viral on Twitter over the past few days.

Some didn't think it was such a big deal.

Twitter | @S_Cheek44

Yes, the name was almost certainly a nod to Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling. But seriously, the first two ducklings have totally innocuous names (Crispy and Fluffy). Why choose such a negative term for the third?

Waitrose took action.

Wikimedia Commons | A P Monblat

Whether you agree or not, big corporations absolutely do not want bad publicity. So Waitrose was quick to pull the product from its shelves, issuing a blanket apology in a statement to CNN.

The ducklings will be back, with a tweak.

"We removed the product from sale several weeks ago while we changed the labeling and our ducklings are now back on sale," Waitrose said in a statement. We haven't seen any of the newly-labeled packages pop up on Twitter just yet.

It's a fair point.

Twitter | @BartolomeuAnna

It might not seem like a big deal, but racism is pervasive. Anyone involved in marketing something that comes in different hues or skin tones needs to be extra careful with the language that they use.

What do you think?

Wikimedia Commons

It's easy to see why the labeling could be considered offensive. It's also easy to think it's not such a big deal. Either way, we want to know your thoughts, so share them in the comments!