The popular genealogy company was loudly criticized for an ad that many saw as romanticizing the horror of slavery.
“Inseparable” was a 30-second ad in which a white man and a black woman are depicted fleeing through an alleyway. When they stop, the man holds up a ring and assures his companion that they can “escape to the north.”
“Will you leave with me?” he asks. The commercial then fades to black to implore viewers that “without you, the story stops here.” Of course, the usage of American slavery — specifically the often physically and sexually violent relationship between slavers and young black women — to sell their product ignited a firestorm.
ancestry dot com: how can we overly romanticize & create an irresponsible, ahistorical depiction of the relationship between white men & black women during the period of chattel slavery that completely disregards its power dynamics & the trauma of sexual exploitation? https://t.co/s5BqnoSg9x
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) April 18, 2019
What in the colonization?!!! https://t.co/HrASG11aqH
— Damon Wayans Yunior? (@wayansjr) April 18, 2019
Ancestry.com responded almost immediately, issuing a statement and removing the offending ad from rotation.
“Ancestry is committed to telling important stories from history,” the statement read. “This ad was intended to represent one of those stories. We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologized for any offense that the ad may have caused.”