U.S. NEWS
05/10/2018 11:05 pm ET Updated May 11, 2018

'Whitening' Dentists Now Mortified They Dressed Up As Cultural Stereotypes

People weren't smiling over this ad.
This was ill-advised.
Screenshot/Midtown Magazine
This was ill-advised.

A trio of white North Carolina dentists got chewed up on social media for a controversial “whitening” ad that shows them dressed in stereotypical garb from other cultures.

Now they’re sorry and have removed the ad.

The Renaissance Dental Center in Raleigh placed the ad in a local magazine. It features the blonde female dentists wearing what’s supposedly Scottish, Japanese and Native American traditional dress. The dentist in “Native American” clothing has her arms crossed over her chest like a parody of a character in an old Western.

“Everyone smiles in the same language!” reads the headline of the ad, which advertises a “free whitening system.”

The ad set social media users gnashing their teeth. 

“You have to be PRETTY clueless to post such an [ad]. For real. The fact that someone had to TELL YOU it was racist is really sad,” someone wrote on the center’s Facebook page.

Another commenter suggested the clinic provide free dental care to local Native American tribes.

The center apologized for the “ignorant and offensive” advertisement on Twitter and Facebook Thursday.

“In one of our recent advertisements, we attempted to focus upon something that unites us … the warmth and joy behind a smile. We now realize it was ignorant and offensive, and we are truly sorry.”

The dentists frequently appear in costume in their ads — wearing workout outfits, soccer uniforms and hard hats, among other items, noted the Raleigh News & Observer. The former ad has been replaced online with one that shows the women in soccer uniforms.

Midtown Magazine publisher and editor Connie Gentry said the ad should not have run.

“In hindsight, clearly this was an inappropriate and insensitive ad to run. That was never our intent and it certainly wasn’t the intent of the advertiser,” Gentry told the local CBS-7 TV station. “As soon as it was called to our attention, that people were offended, we removed and replaced it.”

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