Jun 14, 2019
TOKYO - A major Japanese toiletry and chemical products maker suspended a promotional project Thursday the day after its launch as some of its employees pointed out the title could imply racial discrimination.
Kao Corp.'s #BeWhite project aimed at encouraging households to split chores equally within families, as well as promoting the re-evaluation of workplace practices based on the results of in-house surveys about work and household tasks. The title was later criticized for implying an endorsement of light colored skin.
According to the company, the use of the word "white" was meant to emphasize the effectiveness of the company's laundry detergent Attack, which appears at the end of a video featuring company employees.
It was also meant to be a nod to so-called "white companies" -- firms which treat their employees well in comparison to exploitive "black companies" which are infamous for the poor treatment of workers.
The project's website was set up Wednesday by Kao's Fabric and Home Care Division, but was shut down after the connotations were pointed out the next day.
The #BeWhite website remains closed and the date of its relaunch is yet to be determined, according to the company.
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