Harry and Meghan face storm over deal with firm selling ‘racist’ skin whitening cream
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are being questioned over their relationship with a US cosmetics company that makes tens of millions of pounds a year manufacturing ‘racist’ skin-whitening creams.
The Archewell Foundation, which is run by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, confirmed a multi-year “global partnership” with the American consumer products giant earlier this week.
The American conglomerate controls a number of companies, including the cosmetics brand Olay, which has been criticized for distributing skin-lightening creams mostly in Asia and Africa.
The couple hopes to collaborate with P&G to “global” “uplift girls and women” to “build more compassionate communities” and promote the “transformative power” of sport.
However, the agreement has brought attention to P&G’s highly contentious selling of skin-lightening creams in Asia and Africa, which reduce the concentration or output of melanin, the natural pigment that gives human skin its color.
P&G and other large corporations have been pressured to cease marketing those creams by campaigners.
Campaigners have accused the products of instilling a “toxic belief” that a “person’s worth is measured by the colour of their skin”
According to the Mail on Sunday, P&G’s Olay brand offers White Radiance moisturiser in India, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The formula claims to give you “radiant and brighter skin” while still lightening your complexion.
In the Philippines, the company offers Olay White Radiance Light Perfecting Essence, which claims to “inhibit melanin formation in the deepest layer of skin”
For years, there have been efforts to discourage the sale of such items, with P&G and its affiliated brands being asked to abandon the “racist” products.
Some companies, such as L’Oreal Group and Unilever, have renamed or rebranded their skin-lightening brands in response to public demand.
P&G, on the other hand, has refused, comparing Olay to tanners or make-up.
Similar brands are also sold in Laos, Nigeria, and other countries with a significant population of BIPOC with darker skin tones.
For years, activists have argued that such brands uphold white, euro-centric beauty stereotypes and encourage the notion that a person’s worth and beauty are inextricably tied to their skin color.
Meghan and Harry will be pressed to reveal whether they favor the selling of those items, according to Alex Malouf, a former P&G executive.
There are concerns about Meghan, who is biracial and has talked of her racism experiences, signing a contract with P&G amid the company’s ties to “racist” brands.
‘Meghan has talked a lot about the issue of race and racism, so this does stick out like a sore thumb,’ Mr Malouf said.
The skin-lightening market, worth an estimated £6 billion a year, is booming due to rising demand in Asia and Africa.
However, with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and concerns that the use of such ingredients is profoundly rooted in colonial culture, beauty companies have come under increasing scrutiny.
Skin-lightening creams have been accused of being racist, and cosmetic companies have been pressured to cease marketing them.
Following an investigation, Johnson & Johnson discontinued its “Fine Fairness” line, which was distributed in Asia and the Middle East.
Meanwhile, L’Oreal has declared that it will no longer use the terms “white/whitening” “fair/fairness” and “light/lightening” in its brands, and Unilever has confirmed that its popular “Fair & Lovely” brand will be renamed.
Questions concerning P&G’s skin-whitening creams were not answered.
“At P&G, we are committed to doing the right thing across all aspects of our business – without exception,” it said in a statement to the Mail On Sunday.
“Doing more and doing better is important for us all – for our company, in our communities and for our planet.”
Some fans argue that the Sussexes may not have been aware of the brand’s association with skin-whitening creams, whilst others argue that the partnership should not imply that Harry and Meghan “endorse” those items.
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