The American Red Cross issued an apology on Monday after public outcry over a seemingly racist pool safety poster.
The poster depicts kids in a pool under the title “Be Cool, Follow The Rules.” The kids and their actions are categorized as either being “cool” or “not cool”, with the “cool” kids displaying proper behavior.
However, the controversy stems from the fact that four out of the five kids who are “not cool” are minorities, and they are doing things such as diving and pushing other kids into the pool.
A number of people voiced their disappointment on social media.
— John Sawyer (@JSawyer330) June 21, 2016
— maya made (@mayamade) June 21, 2016
The organization Black Kids Swim voiced their disappointment with the poster as well, tweeting:
“Just the beginning, @RedCross still needs to ensure all posters are taken down.”
Black Kids Swim also tweeted that the posters had been in circulation and posted since 2014.
— Black Kids Swim (@Blackkidsswim) June 26, 2016
— Black Kids Swim (@Blackkidsswim) June 27, 2016
The Red Cross said they have removed the poster from their website and their Swim App. They have also discontinued production of the poster, according to a statement on their website.
All facilities that partner with the Red Cross have also been notified to take the poster down.
“We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone,” the statement reads. “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.”
“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.”
The organization is also in the process of working with a “diversity advocacy organization” to receive guidance in the future.