‘Company Caves To Aboriginal Pressure’

“‘Dior’ has pulled a new advertisement for its ‘Sauvage’ perfume amid criticism over its use of ‘indigenous’ {sic, the CBC means ‘aboriginal’} imagery. A video posted on Twitter that featured an ‘indigenous’ {‘aboriginal’} dancer and an Instagram post explaining that the video was crafted with Aboriginal consultants…were deleted hours after the company was called out for ‘insensitivity’ and ‘cultural misappropriation’.

“Dior initially described the new ad as 

an authentic journey deep into the Native American soul“.

“The 60-second video titled “We Are the Land” featured actor Johnny Depp playing Shawnee guitarist Link Wray’s famous tune “Rumble”, ‘First Nations’ {aboriginal} actress Tanaya Beatty and dancer Canku One Star atop a cliff.

“Criticism quickly spread over social media. For {a handful of} ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} people in Canada, the ad perpetuated a racial slur.

It has huge connotations. ‘Sauvage’ was to say we were dirty, uncivilized, that we had no culture. So this is not good at all. This is a racial slur for any ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} French-speaking person“,
said Melissa Mollen-Dupuis, the co-founder of ‘Idle No More’s branch in Quebec.
It’s as if they used the N-word to promote a perfume.”

“Fashion designer Lesley Hampton said the ad reinforces old stereotypes.

We’re not wild or savage or all these connotations that the history books or the movie created us as“,
she said in Toronto, where she is preparing for ‘Fashion Week’.
It’s a slap on the face to us.”

“The Instagram post, a behind-the-scenes video about the ad, said the group ‘Americans for Indian Opportunity’ were consulted.

Cultural appropriation for us is a huge thing because we’ve been dealing with this since colonization“,
{Yes, aboriginals have been culturally appropriating since then!}

Ron Martinez, a consultant with the non-profit organization, said in the video.
Our presence on this project is for us to make sure the look and identity is authentic. It’s very important.”

“It’s not the first time both Depp and Dior have been accused of ‘cultural appropriation’. Adrienne Keene, the Cherokee blogger behind ‘Native Appropriations’ documented a long list of problems with Johnny Depp’s representation of ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} people since his role as ‘Tonto’ in the 2013 Disney movie “The Lone Ranger”…

“Keene also criticized the Dior ‘Sauvage’ product when it was released in 2015 before the campaign included any ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} references. Dior raised eyebrows in 2017 when the company used a shaman image on a bag {Whose eyebrows?}. In 1998, British fashion designer John Galliano launched an ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal}-influenced fall collection for Dior called “A Voyage on the Diorient Express, or the Story of the Princess Pocahontas“.

–‘Dior pulls ad for Sauvage perfume amid criticism over Indigenous imagery’,
Jessica Deer, CBC News, Aug. 30, 2019
(“Jessica Deer is Kanien’kehá:ka from Kahnawake. A former staff reporter for the {aboriginal} ‘Eastern Door’, she works in CBC’s ‘Indigenous’ unit based in Montreal.”)

A frame from the Christian Dior ‘We Are the Land’ fragrance ad.

“A stubbled, ‘white’ loner in a serape, a deep ocean-blue shirt and multiple beaded chains and bracelets stares moodily at desert landscape lit by the blood reds of sunset. A Native American in classic regalia dances atop a mesa. A girl, in what looks like a wolf-skin, peers through grass. The loner happens upon an electric guitar under a blanket and begins to play. The Native American dances more. “We are the land” is intoned. The word “Sauvage” appears across the screen. Then a bottle of cologne. Then the message: The parfum from Dior”.

“This is a commercial no one is ever supposed to see again.

“Two weeks after the French luxury brand revealed the teaser trailer for the ad, setting off… a firestorm on social media thanks to the juxtaposition of Native American tradition and a word that sounded a lot like a historic racial slur — two weeks after Dior pulled the teaser from social media and began trying to explain — the company has effectively given up on the whole thing…

“Dior has decided to cancel the film campaign and use only print stills that feature Johnny Depp, the face of the fragrance. The Native American contribution has essentially been erased, along with their presence — though it will live on, as most such things do, in bootleg copies online…

“Fashion has a ‘cultural appropriation’ problem. And instead of getting better, as brands increasingly get called out and criticized, it seems to be getting worse. The examples are easy to find: Prada and its Gollywog, Gucci and its blackface controversy, Carolina Herrera and its potential exploitation of ‘indigenous’ Mexican techniques, Kim Kardashian West’s ‘appropriation’ {use} of the Japanese word “kimono{It’s been an English word for many decades} for her shapewear line (a name she has since changed to ‘Skims’)…

“Dior…had been through this last November, when a campaign for the pre-spring collection starring Jennifer Lawrence wearing clothes inspired by the Mexican escaramuzas did not go down well. The company then addressed the issue specifically in the cruise collection, held in Marrakesh and done in collaboration with several African artists and artisans (that wasn’t without controversy but was generally seen as a step forward). This time, the house thought it had acted better.

“But none of that seemed to matter.

“The campaign, which was for the latest version of ‘Sauvage’, a men’s scent created in 1966, was called “We are the Land”. It was shot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and starred Mr. Depp as well as Canku One Star of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

“When Dior decided on the concept of the ‘Sauvage’ ad…the brand reached out to an ‘indigenous’ {Actually, American Indian} advocacy organization, ‘Americans for Indian Opportunity’, as advisers. (The head of the A.I.O., Ladonna Harris, had been instrumental in having Mr. Depp adopted as part of the Comanche ‘Nation’ during the filming of “The Lone Ranger”.)

“After the uproar over the ad, a statement came from the organization, noting:

The goals of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) for providing consultations on media productions are to ensure inclusion of paid Native staff, artists, actors, writers, etc., to educate the production teams on Native American contemporary realities and to create allies for Indigenous peoples. AIO does not speak for all Native Americans. We are proud to have successfully achieved our goals of education and inclusion for this project with Parfums Christian Dior.”

“Later, A.I.O. disavowed its involvement, writing on Instagram, 

Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) deeply regrets its participation in the Dior campaign.”

“Calls and emails to the group were not immediately returned…
{They were intimidated into submission…}

“A full retreat may make for a safe campaign. But it doesn’t make for deeper understanding on anyone’s part, and it doesn’t encourage any kind of cross-cultural fertilization or civil debate. When you get mocked for claiming you tried, why try at all? And if you don’t try at all, where does that leave us? …”

–‘Dior Finally Says No to Sauvage’,
Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, Sept. 13, 2019
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