CHR reminds cosmetic companies to advertise without discrimination
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has reminded cosmetic companies, especially those selling skin-whitening products, that it is possible to advertise without discriminating against other people.
CHR spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia on Tuesday noted that respecting and protecting the rights of all people — regardless of skin color — is part of companies’ duties.
“We recognize that these companies present an option to lighten one’s skin, but they may do so without perpetuating colorism, particularly discriminating against those with darker skin,” De Guia said in a statement.
“[CHR] reminds businesses, as a secondary duty bearer, of their moral obligation to ensure respect and protection of the rights of all, given their capacity to influence how others would enjoy their rights and their ability to shape people’s worldview,” she added.
Recently, cosmetic company GlutaMAX drew flak from the public for an advertisement posted on Facebook saying the people with darker skin tones should not be mad if people do not treat them fairly when commuting. Instead, they should use GlutaMAX. It ended the copy with a hashtag #YourFairAdvantage.
Another advertisement centered on questions why people with fairer skin are mistaken as celebrities while those with darker complexions are usually relegated to taking pictures of their fair-skinned friends.
The Ad Standards Council (ASC) has released a statement saying that they did not approve the controversial ad campaign.
According to De Guia, businesses should operate within specific guidelines, and that generating income should not translate to discrimination.
“Ads are expected tools of the trade for businesses to sell. But even businesses, including advertising agencies, operate within the bounds of ethical guidelines to ensure that earning a profit does not come at the expense of other people’s rights, identities, and dignity,” she explained.
“Instead, we hope that they use their respective platforms to encourage greater acceptance of our diversity and oneness as part of one humanity,” she added. /ee
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