DNA testing service Ancestry pulls ad said to romanticize slavery

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 21, 2019

When they stop, the man holds up a ring and assures his companion that they can "escape to the north".

"Inseparable" was a 30-second ad in which a white man and a black woman are depicted fleeing through an alleyway.

Titled "Inseparable", the spot was part of a wider campaign from the DNA testing company and showed a pair of "lovers" attempting to covertly run through the streets to find a secret spot.

"Will you leave with me?" he asks. Most biracial or multiracial children born at the time were products of rape of women by slave owners, research has found.

Interracial coercion and sex was widespread in the Antebellum South, where slave owners often propositioned girls in their teens, according to an article in the Journal of African American History. "It's a nicely packaged recreation which is absolutely untrue", she says. "[The brand] is hinting to something that's really a history of sexual exploitation and disempowerment".

The ad, Diouf says, is offensive another level. "It's a toxic representation of history that fits well into a white supremacy and male dominion frame".

Ancestry took the ad down from its YouTube channel.

In an email statement to CBS News, the renowned genealogy website said that the ad was meant to be part of its effort in telling "important stories from history".

"This ad was meant to represent one of those stories", the statement said.

"We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused", Ancestry.com spokeswoman Gina Spatafore wrote in an email, adding that the spot had been removed from YouTube and was in the process of being pulled from TV stations.

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