Italian airline apologizes for video with actor in blackface playing Obama

Italian airline Alitalia apologized Wednesday for an advertisement in which former President Obama was portrayed by an actor in blackface.

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The video was part of a promotional campaign for Alitalia’s Rome-Washington route, and was posted on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It was removed after the airline faced an avalanche of criticism on social media.

"This @Alitalia video showcasing a silent blackfaced 'Obama' is reprehensive on so many levels: racism, extreme provincialism, wilful ignorance of facts, lack of historic knowledge," one user tweeted.

Alitalia’s apology follows several instances in which big-name brands have been accused of using blackface.

Most recently, fashion designer Gucci was forced in February to apologize for and stop selling a sweater that many said resembled blackface.