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Rachael Ray linked to terror? You be the judge

By May 30, 2008 10 Comments

Can you guess why Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the above ad featuring Rachel Ray?

First, you have to ask the question, when is a scarf not a scarf?

According to conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, it’s when it’s a keffiyeh, a style of dress “popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos.”

Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the ad after threats of a boycott by Malkin and a group of conservative bloggers, and stated that the scarf “was selected by a stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended.”

Much ado about nothing?

Comment below to weigh in.

. . .
Inspriration for this post came from the Credit Union Warrior (via twitter), and my partner Bill Boyd, ABC.

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • We’ve absolutely fallen off of our rockers! This is over-reaction to the extreme.

    That said, my father always told me not to trust someone who smiles too much. Could Rachel Ray really be a terrorist? 🙂

  • Deston says:

    Nothing donut-chomping bubba does surprises me any more. What I’d like to know is what Rachel Ray is doing in front of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. There’s no there there.

  • Jeff says:

    Okay, I’ll bite:

    Let’s change the accessories and see what we think?

    * A crucifix.
    * A Star of David.
    * A swastika pin.
    * A Mao or Che T-shirt.
    * An American flag pin.
    * SS lightning bolts pin.
    * Hammer and sickle pin.
    * An Israel flag T-shirt.
    * A support-our-troops ribbon.
    * A Mao cap.
    * An “I Love Jesus” T-shirt.
    * A pro-union T-shirt.
    * A 2008 Olympics T-shirt.
    * A “Save Darfur” T-shirt.
    * A fur stole.
    * A “Free Tibet” button.
    * A “Peace” sign.
    * A yellow “Have a Nice Day” happy face.
    * A pair of Mickey Mouse ears.

    Which of these might cause some group sufficient offense to organize a boycott? Which have become sufficiently rooted in fashion as to be generally considered innocuous?

    What we do know is that nothing that makes it into the frame of a commercial is accidental. I’m not saying the keffiyeh was a deliberate political statement – but the fact that its potential for offending a significant minority in the American viewing public was not recognized or taken into account speaks to some kind of blind spot.

  • Deston says:

    She could say the pledge of allegiance.

  • @Jeff I’ll 100% buy that every single aspect of a marketing piece should be considered carefully in the planning process. But honestly…how in the world do you expect an agency to know that that goofy looking scarf would create such a reaction? Absolutely no way I would have been able to put those two things together. No matter what you do, say, or wear, it seems, you are bound to upset someone in some way. Sad, but true. This is nothing short of hypersensitivity in my estimation.

  • The whole thing is an embarrassment to our country. And to Dunkin Donuts, who totally capitulated to the wingnuts, which just further empowers them.

    I just wrote a long article about it: http://coolrulespronto.wordpress.com/2008/05/31/dunkin-donuts/.

  • Jeff says:

    I agree that it’s hypersensitivity – but – let’s see, how do I say this? – I don’t think about fashion at all, so it’s good I don’t do anything aimed at consumers (I’m totally b-2-b). Companies that pay what companies pay to put celebrities on TV to flog stuff that no one really needs have staff that do nothing but research this stuff. When I was in college (too long ago to mention), someone wearing a keffiyeh would have clearly stood out as making an anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian political statement. That a keffiyeh is now an innocuous fashion statement and that whether Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up themselves and innocent civilians should be thought of as terrorists is a topic of serious discussion speaks to a major shift in zeitgeist. No one would have a skinhead wearing a swastika advertise their goods. Hitler is still evil, Mao is a fashion statement. Stalin? Forgotten. Che is a fashion statement, Fidel is not. Why? Because he had the good taste to die young? An article of clothing typically seen on terrorists dissolves into fashion. Why? I’m not agreeing with Malkin or any knucklehead who would boycott Dunkin’ Donuts because of what Rachael Ray wears, but it’s an interesting dichotomy. I’m old enough to remember Anita Bryant losing her job flogging Tropicana Orange juice because of her opposition to gay rights. The more things change…

  • @Jeff Crazy, I know. Even though I appreciate anyone’s decision to remove Rachel Ray from yet another media presence, I do believe that in this particular case it is much ado about nothing. Maybe it’s just flat-out ignorance on my part, but there is absolutely no chance that I would have put that picture and Palestinian extremists together in my mind.

    I fear that a time is coming (it may be now) in which there is absolutely nothing you can say, do, or wear that doesn’t offend someone – no matter how serendipitous their selections were. It’s not political correctness – it’s total intolerance. That’s just sad.

  • Just about everyone in hollywood wears that. You can’t go out at night and not see a scarf like that.

  • Jeff says:

    Okay, I’ll stir the pot again – Obama volunteers boot Muslim women with hijabs from the photo opp. Smart or not? If I were REALLY cynical I’d say it was a brilliant way to keep the potentially politically dangerous image off the air while giving Obama the opportunity to make a “good” apology and express his love of diversity. Do I REALLY think that? Nah. But it worked. It’s one-day story it deserves to be. The big (never to be answered) question is, would it be if something similarly embarrassing happened to the McCain campaign (or the Hillary campaign before that).

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