Nikon SA’s response to ‘whitewashing’ claims over new advert falls short

Austin Malema in the Nikon advert. Picture: Screenshot

‘I hope black creators deny the opportunity to work with you guys,’ said one Twitter user.

Nikon South Africa has come under fire after releasing an advert on social media for their latest camera.

The campaign, which sees influencers sharing their adventures and moments captured using the new Z50 camera, featured only white influencers, with the exception of Austin Malema.

Malema is a renowned photographer who has worked with the likes of international and local celebrities including Bonang Matheba, Nadia Nakai, Cassper Nyovest, David Beckham, Idris Elba, Drake and Beyoncé, to name a few.

The company has been accused of whitewashing, being tone-deaf and throwing in a ‘token’ black influencer.

To make matters worse, Malema did not get a chance to speak in the video: he only says his name while the other influencers talk at length about the campaign.

Nikon has since issued a statement addressing concerns surrounding the lack of diversity and representation. The company stated that it would be adding more influencers to the campaign.

“We celebrate the power of creativity through imaging, embracing diverse ideas and differences among people and cultures,” read the statement.

“We recognise that our recent influencer program launched in South Africa fell short of portraying these values that we commit ourselves to embody and project as a brand.

“To ensure we are better reflecting the incredible range of talent in South Africa, we are re-strategising our initiatives and will be updating the program to introduce additional creators.”

The statement seems to have had the opposite effect and escalated the situation instead, with many finding it insulting.

South Africans pointed out that Nikon did not officially apologise for their mistake and continued to sidestep the issue.

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