The American Red Cross has issued an apology after users online declared a pool safety poster was 'racist.'
The photo shows several children playing in and around a pool with the slogan “Be Cool, Follow The Rules.” The poster depicts kids’ behavior as either “cool” or “not cool.”
Users pointed out that four of the five “not cool” kids were minorities. The two “cool” kids are white.
Following the online comments, the Red Cross released a statement apologizing for the poster.
“We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day.”
The Red Cross said they have removed the poster from their website along with discontinuing the poster's production. They will also ask all facilities to remove the poster.
You can read the full statement from the Red Cross below:
The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced. We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day.
To this end, we have removed the poster from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production. We have notified all of our partner aquatic facilities requesting they take down the poster. Our organization has emphasized to our partners and on social media that it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone and apologized for this inadvertent action. We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward.
For more than 100 years, part of the Red Cross mission has been to help everyone be safe in, on and around the water. Countless lives have been saved with our water safety educational and aquatics programs. In order to further support our mission and dedication to inclusion, we launched our Aquatics Centennial Campaign (www.redcross.org/centennialswim) in 2014. We are working to reduce the drowning rate in 50 high-risk communities over a 5-year period by helping to teach at least 50,000 more children and adults to swim. With this campaign, we are focusing on areas with higher-than-average drowning rates and participants who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to take swim lessons.
Once again, we apologize for any inadvertent misunderstanding with regard to the production of this poster, and believe we have taken every step to address the situation.