Turtle Bay apologises for "racist" Rastafarian ad campaign

30 September 2015 by
Turtle Bay apologises for "racist" Rastafarian ad campaign

The Turtle Bay restaurant group has pulled a "racist" advertising campaign and apologised after critics condemned it as racist and mocking of Rastafarianism.

Caribbean-style group Turtle Bay, which has 22 sites across the UK, had previously promoted its "Rastafy Me" campaign, which invited customers to modify their own portrait photos by giving themselves darker skin and dreadlocks, and posting the image on social media alongside the hashtag "#Rastafyme".

Critics labelled the campaign as racist and guilty of making a joke of the Rastafarian culture. Tweets on the subject said the campaign was using Rastafarianism as "a commodity" and showing it as a "gross caricature".

Turtle Bay has since apologised, calling the campaign inappropriate, and saying it had been launched by an "external person". All references to the campaign have since been deleted from its social media accounts.

In a statement, group owner Ajith Jaya-Wickrema, said: "An external person launched an inappropriate social media campaign our behalf. We would like to apologise to all those people who got in touch to voice their concerns. We have taken steps to ensure that nothing like this happens again."

Founded in 2009 by former Las Iguanas co-founder Jaya-Wickrema, Turtle Bay now has sites across England. It has recently come in for criticism over its tipping policy, along with French-style group Cote, Las Iguanas, and Bill's, amid allegations that it asked staff to make up a certain percentage of tips from their own wages if the tips themselves did not cover it. The groups denied the claims.

Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay slammed for ‘pay to work' tipping policy >>

Turtle Bay to open Cheltenham restaurant >>

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