Italian airline Alitalia received backlash after it released a commercial that featured an actor in blackface portraying Barack Obama, and now the company removed the video and has issued a formal apology. The video was released as part of a campaign that advertised Alitalia's new Rome to Washington route. It also featured portrayals of other U.S. presidents including Donald Trump.
"Alitalia deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the promotional video on our Washington route. It has since been removed," Alitalia said in a statement. "For our company, respect for everyone is mandatory, it was never our intention to hurt anyone and we will learn from what has happened."
While the commercial is no longer available on any of Alitalia''s official channels, French news network BFM TV provided a brief clip of the controversial video on Twitter.
Earlier this year, Gucci faced a similar controversy for a sweater that resembled blackface. The offensive piece resulted in a boycott from a slew of notable celebrities.