Native Americans say Dior Ad Pushes Stereotypes

Sep 2, 2019

Dior is facing widespread criticism for an advertising campaign that Native Americans say perpetuates stereotypes.

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Dior has deleted ads from its social media accounts promoting its Sauvage fragrance that had prompted criticism because of their use of Native American culture.  A video on Twitter featuring a Native American dancer and an Instagram post explaining the campaign that was crafted with Native American consultants were deleted hours after they were called out for cultural misappropriation and being insensitive.

The company has not responded to media emails seeking comment on the ads or their deletion. One of the deleted posts had promised more details about the fragrance and campaign on Monday.

Johnny Depp is the celebrity face of the Sauvage brand, and the fate of a film he recorded to promote it is unclear.

Dior consulted with the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Americans for Indian Opportunity on the campaign. Executive director Laura Harris says the group sought to ensure Native American artists, actors and writers were included in the campaign to educate production teams. She says the controversy will start an international conversation about contemporary Native Americans.

Others like Dallas Goldtooth of the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota say the ad is romanticizing Native Americans as relics of the past. He says the ad doesn’t benefit Native people; it simply creates buzz for the French luxury goods company. Goldtooth says no one will take Native Americans seriously if they’re continually portrayed as mystical and wearing feathers and fringe.

Sauvage in French has a variety of meanings, including wild, unspoiled and savage.