On Monday, Gap apologized over an ad for its kids clothing line that people said was “racist.” The image showed a black girl being used as an armrest by an older white girl.
It now turns out that the two girls are sisters.
They are part of a youth performance group, Le Petit Cirque, whose founder, Nathalie Yves Gaulthier, told ABC News in a statement that she stands by Gap.
The child in the ad is not an “armrest,” she’s the other girl’s little sister. They are a very close family. The child is a very young [junior] member with Le Petit Cirque, a humanitarian cirque company, and therefore a wee shyer than the more seasoned older outgoing girls. Our company is deeply saddened by some people misconstruing this as racist, and are keeping the children out of this at the moment to protect their beautiful feelings, but we are extremely supportive of dialogue in our country to move past any racial barriers. We stand by Gap Kids and Ellen DeGeneres.
Smith and husband Stephen Lubensky adopted daughter Lucy from Ethiopia in 2008. At the time, the couple already had a 5-year-old daughter, Fanny, according to People.
Gap and Smith could not immediately be reached for comment.
But Smith’s tweets make it look pretty likely that the two models are, indeed, her daughters.
@TheRoot girl with arm resting on her shoulder is her sister She didn’t talk in video because she was 2 shy. everyone needs to calm down.
— Brooke Smith (@Iam_BrookeSmith) April 3, 2016
— Brooke Smith (@Iam_BrookeSmith) April 7, 2016
The picture formed part of a campaign for #GapKidsxED, Ellen DeGeneres’ kids clothing line.
Gap apologized for the image on Monday after receiving a backlash on Twitter from people who thought that the ad had racist overtones.
— Fatima La’Juan Muse (@TheTherapyDiva) April 2, 2016
— Britni de la Cretaz (@britnidlc) April 3, 2016
Debbie Felix, a Gap Kids representative, apologized for the image on Monday.
She told The Daily Mail: “As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended.”
Felix added: “We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique.”