The ad was simply supposed to promote a sale — 30 percent off an entire Old Navy purchase. But some took the ad, which featured an interracial family, to promote a larger message on race.
Twitter users took to the platform to express their outrage over the ad, calling it “absolutely disgusting” and supportive of “the genocide of the white race.”
The ad in question was intended to promote the retailer’s “Thank You Event” sale. Posted last Friday, the ad featured a black woman, a white man and a child riding piggyback on the man.
Although some also promised to boycott the store over the ad, Old Navy issued a response standing firm.
“We are a brand with a proud history of championing diversity and inclusion. At Old Navy, everyone is welcome,” it told TODAY.
The negative response to the ad also prompted a flood of support, particularly by dozens of interracial couples who posted photos of their own mixed-race families and signed their tweets with the #LoveWins hashtag.
The two adult models in the ad, who are not related, also defended the ad.
“I’m extremely proud to have taken part in a campaign that not only celebrates our nation’s diversity, but also unites families with multicultural backgrounds and promotes love of all kinds,” Clay Pollioni said in an Instagram post.
Grace Mahary, the woman in the ad, also expressed support for the ad and her "pretend family."
"I am proud to be representing interracial love, multiculturalism, and most importantly, a mentality that supports opportunity for all ethnicities. Thanks @oldnavy #lovewins #hatefreezone," she said on Instagram in a repost of the ad.
General Mills faced a similar backlash in 2013 when it released a television commercial for Cheerios with an interracial family. The ad featured a white mother, a black father and a mixed-race daughter. Fierce negative reaction prompted the company to disable the comment section on its YouTube video.
But the company fought back months later by featuring the same mixed-race family in another commercial, an ad that premiered during the 2014 Super Bowl.