South Asian community praises Gap’s response to defaced poster

Published: November 27, 2013

Graffitti on a Gap ad with a turbaned Asian model in New York. Twitter


A Gap ad meant to draw from cultural icons and spread love during the holiday season has instead been defaced with racist slurs in a New York City subway station.

Gap Inc.’s latest ‘Make Love’ campaign features a number of multicultural figures dressed in Gap clothing, with one of the posters featuring turbaned Sikh, Waris Ahluwahlia, an American actor and fashion designer next to model and filmmaker Quentin Jones.

Founder of the and senior editor of Islamic Monthly, Arsalan Iftikhar, told Vancouver Desi the defaced ad first caught his eye when a friend posted a picture of it on his Facebook newsfeed. The picture showed the subway station poster with the slogan ‘Make Love’ crossed out to read ‘Make Bombs’ with the words “Please stop driving taxis!” scrawled beneath it.

“As a civil rights lawyer and media commentator, I regularly talk about race, ethnic and identity issues in American politics and media,” Iftikhar said in an email to Vancouver Desi. “This one photograph was a perfect example of how racism is still alive and well in America today.”

Iftikhar posted the photo to his more than 35,000 Twitter followers on Sunday, because “it’s important for average people to know what’s going on in their neighborhoods (and subway stations) and speak out against injustice even when it has nothing to do directly with our own backgrounds,” he said.


Gap shows solidarity with Muslims and Sikhs by making the ad it’s main image on Twitter after graffitti incident.

Fortunately, The Gap responded to Iftikhar’s tweet the very next day, thanking him for passing on the information and asking for the exact location of the defaced ad.

The Gap further stood by their campaign and changed its Twitter background to the photo of Waris Ahluwahlia, which Iftikhar said was “the perfect response to all the haters out there.”

The clothing line’s ‘Make Love’ campaign has already received an outpouring of support from the Sikh community when it was initially launched last week. A Facebook page titled “GAP,

Thank you for featuring a Sikh model in your “Make Love” campaign,” was also created on Sunday.

A letter posted to its timeline states, “The Sikh community has struggled with making everyone aware about its faith, values and culture. Sadly, very few people recognize that articles of faith such as turbans and unshorn hair, are an integral part of the American way of life for Sikhs that live and work here. Since 9/11, Sikhs have been victims of numerous violent hate crimes.”

“The community has tremendously benefited from the attention it has received through Gap’s marketing campaign,” the letter added. “By placing a Sikh model in prominent locations on billboards, direct mail advertising and digital channels, you have raised the profile of Sikhs in ways the community couldn’t have accomplished with its limited resources.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



Video: Rescue story of a dog that fell into hot tar and turned into a rock

VANCOUVER DESI A team of animal rescuers in Western India spent two days working to free a helpless dog trapped in a pile of hot…
Continue Reading »


Surrey Sikh temple hit-and-run still a mystery after two years

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — Surrey Mounties believe somebody must have seen something that can help investigators solve a hit-and-run crash that happened two…
Continue Reading »


Kids sweatshirts made in Pakistan and sold at Kroger, Fred Meyer stores in the U.S. recalled for choking hazard

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — Nearly 8,000 children’s hoodies are being recalled because of a possible choking risk. No injuries have been reported, but…
Continue Reading »


Global index ranks Norway tops, Afghanistan worst for well-being of older citizens

By David Crary THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — Canada ranks fourth when it comes to the well-being of its older residents, according to a…
Continue Reading »

Canada’s disaster assistance team ill-suited to help Ebola crisis, Harper says

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team isn’t well-suited to be of much help in the unfolding…
Continue Reading »

Canada’s disaster assistance team ill-suited to help Ebola crisis, Harper says

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team isn’t well-suited to be of much help in the unfolding…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

body image-beauty-weight-control

Self-compassion leads to positive body image in women

IANS Toronto – Women who accept and tolerate their bodily imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their high body mass index…
Continue Reading »

British comedian John Oliver takes aim at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's U.S. visit on his HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. YouTube/Screengrab.

British comedian John Oliver again covers Indian politics in HBO show, takes aim at Modi’s U.S. visit (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI British comedian John Oliver has covered Indian politics yet again on his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In this…
Continue Reading »


Last remaining family member of Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh dies in Toronto

IANS Chandigarh — The younger sister and last remaining blood relative of revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh has died in Canada, according to relatives in…
Continue Reading »

Komagata Maru

India honours 100-year anniversary of Komagata Maru with commemorative coins

IANS New Delhi — India on Monday released a set of special coins as part of a year-long centenary commemoration of the 1914 Komagata Maru…
Continue Reading »

Sandy Sidhu main.jpg

Nanaimo’s Sandy Sidhu to appear in film at VIFF, but the actress is still waiting for her big break

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It took years for Nanaimo’s Sandy Sidhu to admit that she was an aspiring actress. Enrolled at UBC for cell biology…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Shah Rukh Khan Deepika Padukone Bollywood sex

Shah Rukh Khan: My films are never male-oriented (w/gallery)

HINDUSTAN TIMES Shah Rukh Khan may be a name big enough to make a film a blockbuster on his own, but he says that his…
Continue Reading »

Sonam Kapoor

Gallery: 10 celebs who did not let diabetes rule their lives

VANCOUVER DESI Did you know Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor has been living with Diabetes from her teen years? And her Pakistani co-star in Khoobsurat — Fawad…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Indian court blocks 72 websites from streaming Bollywood movie ‘Bang Bang’

IANS New Delhi – The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed various internet and telecom service providers to block access to 72 websites hosting the yet-to-be…
Continue Reading »