PETALING JAYA: Watsons Malaysia has defended a controversial video which came under fire for its use of a blackface.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page today, Watsons said the video, which was part of its Watson Legenda Cun campaign for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, was not intended to promote racism.
“Watsons Malaysia is aware of the post that has been made viral on social media,” it said.
“A post on 7th June 2017 regarding a video by Watsons talks about the legend of Dayang Senandong.
“The Legend of Senandong is a Malay folklore about a lady who was born cursed with black skin but blessed with a beautiful voice.
“The legend depicts that the king fell in love with Dayang Senandong because of her voice and inner beauty. The curse was lifted after Dayang Senandong gave birth to the king’s child.
“We stand firm on the belief that unity and fairness plays an important role, and we respect people from all nationalities.
“The video was shot to highlight the legend and its moral values of inner beauty and that true love exists.”
The pharmaceutical chain came under heavy fire from internet users after it released the 15-minute video, in which a wealthy man looking for a wife falls in love with a lady with a beautiful voice.
However, when she unveils her face, he is shocked to find that she has black skin. He is later relieved once she washes her face and it is revealed that she actually has fair skin.
The clip ends with him praising her beauty and the quote, “Only at Watson’s you’ll be beautiful”.
The video featured celebrities such as Amber Chia, Uqasha Senrose, Sasha Saidin, Raja Ilya and Thanuja.
In the Facebook post, Watsons said it had not meant to offend anyone by its video.
“We are sorry that some of our fans feel offended by the video which was not our intention. We take feedback from our fans seriously.”
Meanwhile, rival Guardian Malaysia posted a similar ad for its Raya campaign.
The four-minute ad has a similar story line where a prince was saved from danger by a shy lady named Bawang Merah with a lovely voice. However, she was perceived as not beautiful due to her bad complexion.
But this time around, the forward thinking prince says he doesn’t mind her skin colour, expressing that a pure heart is more important, winning over netizens.
In the end, she becomes beautiful with the aid of beauty products.