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Sony withdraws "racist" PSP ad campaign

The controversial Dutch billboard ad that Leland Yee described said was "insensitive at best and racist at worst" has been withdrawn and Sony has apologised for any offence caused.

Sony has withdrawn the PlayStation Portable advertising campaign at the centre of a racism row.

The image in question, which shows a white woman gripping a black woman by the jaw, was created as part of an advertising campaign to promote the new "ceramic white" PSP model in Holland.

However the ad quickly caught the attention of those outside the Benelux region for which it was intended - attracting the ire of California Assemblyman Leland Yee, who called it "insensitive at best and racist at worst", and the NAACP, whose president Rick Callender who said the ad "sparked painful feelings in the global community".

This week Sony relented under pressure and said it had withdrawn the campaign - although it maintains the position, as expressed in a statement last week, that the ads had "no other message or purpose" beyond their remit of promoting the ceramic white PSP.

"Whilst the images used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colours available for the PSP, we recognise that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising. As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign," Sony said in a statement this week.

"We further recognise that people have a wide variety of perceptions about such imagery and we wish to apologise to those who perceived the advert differently to that intended. In future, we will apply greater sensitivity in our selection of campaign imagery, and will take due account of the increasingly global reach of such local adverts, and their potential impact in other countries."

Sony's actions drew praise from Leland Yee, who said "Sony did the right thing", while Callender said he hoped the company would "employ a better litmus test to their ad campaigns to determine if they will be sour to the taste of worldwide consumers".

Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.