Sharpton and Jackson forced Cadbury apology

US civil rights activists stepped in after company compared Naomi Campbell to a chocolate bar

One of America's leading civil rights activists, Reverend Al Sharpton, was instrumental in forcing Cadbury to apologise to the supermodel Naomi Campbell for comparing her to a chocolate bar after the race row went global, it emerged last night.

Mr Sharpton waded into the dispute, which had raised the prospect of a consumer boycott and legal action from Campbell, after it was first highlighted by The Independent on Sunday last week.

The American Baptist minister raised the issue on his radio talk show, referring to Cadbury's advertisement for its Bliss range of Dairy Milk chocolate bars, which said "Move over Naomi – there is a new diva in town". Cadbury is owned by the US food giant Kraft.

The UK-based campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV), which helped to kickstart the protest against Cadbury, wrote to Mr Sharpton to ask him to lend his support. OBV's Simon Woolley, a guest on Sharpton's radio show last week, said yesterday: "This shows that our communities have clout. The story went way beyond the UK. For African Americans, this was a no-brainer. According to Sharpton, the only way to deal with [issues like this] is to have an African diaspora that supports each other."

Tamrika Mallory, executive director of Mr Sharpton's civil rights campaign group National Action Network, said: "The reverend felt this was deeply offensive. Naomi is an icon and has worked very hard, so to be compared to food or an object is offensive." She added that the race row was bigger than just one distasteful advertisement.

"It's yet another example of corporate insensitivity towards minorities, and proof that advertising rooms are still largely devoid of diversity."

The Rev Jesse Jackson also responded to a letter from OBV, pledging his support for its attempt to get Cadbury to apologise.

Mr Woolley said: "Cadbury's first response was, frankly, shocking and derisory. But once this all went global Cadbury was suddenly beating a path to my door. There was a quantum leap in its change of attitude."

In a statement issued last Friday, Cadbury said it was "not our intention that this campaign should offend Naomi, her family or anybody else, and we are sincerely sorry that it has done so".

It drew a line under the incident, adding: "We have been in discussions with Naomi's solicitors and can confirm that they have accepted our apology on her behalf as a conclusion to this issue."

Campbell, who had said she was shocked and insulted to be described as chocolate, said: "I'm pleased that Cadbury have made a 'sincere apology' in regards to their Bliss ad campaign. The advertisement was in poor taste on a number of levels, not least in the way they likened me to their chocolate bar. It is also a shame that it took so long for Cadbury to offer this apology."

She added: "I hope they and other multinationals can learn from this: that offence may not be their intention, but when it is shown that it has caused offence a sincere apology straightaway goes a long a way.

"Better still, they should avoid causing offence in the first place, which is best achieved by having greater diversity at board and senior management level."

Additional reporting by Hana Chambers

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices