Culture

Clorox Accused of Racism for Asking Why There’s No Bleach Emoji

Worse, Clorox apologized — which validates accusations that don't deserve to be taken seriously.

Clorox has apologized after being accused of racism for asking why there wasn’t a bleach emoji.

Apple released new emojis as part of its iOS 8.3 update this week, including “racially diverse” emojis with brown and black skin. No emojis of bleach products were released, prompting Clorox to tweet:

“New emojis are alright but where’s the bleach.” The tweet has since been deleted.

Any reasonable person would see this as an innocuous attempt by Clorox to make their #brand look in tune with pop culture — but Perpetually Offended Twitter didn’t see it that way:

“You need to clean up your PR person. Put some bleach on your distasteful marketing ideas,” tweeted @DriNicole. “Black emojis were added today. Saying this implies you’d rather the emojis be only white, by adding bleach.”

Rather than ignore the insane criticism, however, Clorox apologized on Twitter . . .

“Wish we could bleach away our last tweet. Didn’t mean to offend – it was meant to be about all the [toilet, bathtub and red wine] emojis that could use a clean up.”

 . . . and via its public relations department:

#related#“We did not mean for this to be taken as a specific reference to the diversity emojis — but we should have been more aware of the news around this,” spokeswoman Molly Steinkrauss said.

Look. The people who called a bleach company racist for tweeting about bleach are obviously terrible, but you know what? Clorox is just as bad for apologizing, because that validates accusations that should have been ridiculed rather than taken seriously. Legitimizing this kind of insanity only encourages more of it — contributing to a culture where the most irrational among us have the power to control our speech.

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