Some people just never learn. Even after the recent #KimOhNo episode, now Dior is under fire for cultural appropriation with their new “Sauvage” campaign. Dior chose none other than Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Depp to sell some scents, and its most recent ad has backfired on them.
Before we continue, lets take a look at how tone-deaf the whole ad was:
The French fashion house recently released a preview of its new Native American-inspired fragrance campaign for “Sauvage” featuring actor Johnny Depp.
“An authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular territory.”
This is just a new campaign for the perfume as the original formulation of the fragrance was released last year, followed by an intense version. The previous campaigns were all tame and the perfume was a top seller partially due to Johnny Depp’s face plastered on the campaign.
Dior’s initial campaign from 2015 shot a short film ‘Legend of the Magic Hour’ starring Johnny Depp.
The new advert, on the other hand, shot a short film titled “We Are The Land“. The short film features a Native American dancer in cultural attire and a ritual feathered head dress. There is also a female Native American model.
The male Native American in the campaign is a member of the ‘Rosebud Sioux Tribe‘ in South Dakota. The real problem is the commodification of that heritage paired with the name ‘Sauvage‘.
So basically, Dior called Native American Indians savage. And no one thought it was wrong in any way? An indigenous tribe being relegated to savages?
“A film developed as a close collaboration between the House of Dior and Native American consultants from the 50-year-old Indigenous advocacy organization Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) in order to respect Indigenous cultures, values, and heritage.”
This is what drew ire on social media, leading to the ad being called out for racism and indicative of cultural appropriation.
I cannot with @Dior exploiting native culture for their fragrance #sauvage… and yes that’s SAVAGE! What the FUCK?!? Y’all are disgusting! You mean to tell me that NOT ONE person in your company saw this as an issue through the tiresome ideation process?!?
— Shuga Cain (@MissShugaCain) August 30, 2019
On its face, this is horrible. Then you confirm the name: Sauvage. Like “savage,” but fancier. THEN I clicked through (so others wouldn’t have to) and Johnny Depp is the face of this. Depp, who immersed himself in cultural appropriation with Tonto. @dior, you can’t be serious. https://t.co/tOFBuFMEeM
— April (@ReignOfApril) August 30, 2019
People even called it a deliberate attempt at cheap publicity.
So, either everyone at Dior's ad company has been snoozing for the past decade+, or they were counting on the outrage for cheap publicity.
Either way, it stinks of Shitty Behavior.
— Laura Anne Gilman (@LAGilman) August 30, 2019
Following the intense backlash, The House of Dior deleted all the campaign posts referencing Native Americans. They then issued a semi-formal apology as a Dior spokesperson announced they have ‘a long-standing commitment against racism or any kind of discrimination.‘
“The House of Dior wishes to address the strong reaction to the trailer of the new campaign of the Sauvage fragrance featuring a Native American artist performing a traditional Fancy dance. The campaign was inspired by the deep and rich Native American culture which the House of Dior holds in the highest regard.”
They even doubled down to address cultural appropriation writing it off as devotion to ‘accuracy and inclusion‘.
“To ensure accuracy and inclusion the House of Dior works closely with Native American consultants, artists, writers, and dancers as well as the Americans for Indian Opportunity. The House of Dior has a long-standing commitment against racism or any kind of discrimination and will continue to work with and proudly support organizations which fight against those burdens.”