Alitalia Promotes New Route With Actor in Blackface, Suggests Barack Obama is African

Alitalia shares revenue across the Atlantic with Delta, and Delta has sniffed around to possibly acquire a stake in the airline though the terms weren’t disclosed and apparently not so compelling for the Italian government because they continue to search for a buyer willing to pour in good money after bad, the way that Etihad did and Air France before it.

The Italian flag carrier surviving on government subsidies launched new service between Washington Dulles and Rome two months ago.

Their marketing budget must not have any money in it for good writing or taste to support this flight. They’re running a series of ads Where is Washington?. One of them features first U.S. President George Washington.

And another features an actor in blackface portraying Barack Obama, with a ‘man on the street’ saying suggesting he’s the former President is African (a Kenyan Muslim perhaps?).

I’m genuinely left speechless, and regular readers know that doesn’t happen very often.

Lest anyone think this is political, there’s also a version with Donald Trump.

(HT: @AlbertoRiva)

Update: Alitalia offers an apology,

Alitalia deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the promotional video on our new Washington route. It has since been removed from all of our social media channels.

For our Company, respect for everyone is mandatory, it was never our intention to hurt anyone and we will learn from what has happened

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Sorry, we don’t have a fan big enough to waft the stench of manufactured outrage all the way over there.

  2. And? Obama is half sub Saharan African by genes. Is that so shocking.

  3. “with a ‘man on the street’ saying suggesting he’s the former President is African”

    Ironic that you criticize the writing, eh?

  4. John Rogerson,

    As you seem to know so much about genes, I have some questions. Let’s start:

    If most genes of people, regardless of ethic backgrounds, are the same as all other people, how can former POTUS Obama be half sub-Saharan African by genes unless you and everyone else here posting is too?

    The genes of Obama and GW Bush and even Trump (the Presidential Orangutan) are probably so alike that they share more than half the same genes? If so, then how does that leave Obama to be half sub-Saharan African by genes but not also Bush and Trump?

    Obama’s dad was more directly of African ethnic backgrounds than his mom, while his mom was more directly of European ethnic backgrounds, but having say two ethnic backgrounds doesn’t mean a whole lot when it comes to genes, right? If I remember correctly, there is more genetic variation within a given ethnicity than there is across different ethnicities. Is that not true?

    Thank you for your human genetic expertise.

  5. The racism of LK Maple, John Rogerson and Kenny above is no longer astounding under Donald Trump and the resurgence of the KKK.

  6. @Allen, Resurgence of the KKK?. Can you support this statement? I typed in this statement on google and they referred me to 1920.

  7. The KKK will never be anything again because there’s nowhere to buy those pointy little hats, except perhaps the KKK-Mart.

  8. Wait a minute, are you suggesting Obama isn’t half black? Obama has African descent. He is part African. To state otherwise or name call anyone who points this out is absurd.

  9. @John Rogerson.

    Quite literally everyone has “African descent”. Calling out Obama is a dog-whistle for simpletons.

  10. @allen Nah, not really. Alitalia pulled the ad, issue closed. The rest just noise. No reason to get your panties in a bunch.

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