Tesco sparks controversy after removing black couple from advert

Photo by: @heysupersimi | Unsplash

The supermarket chain’s ‘Food Love Stories’ ad has been criticised for its lack of inclusivity, after only featuring Caucasian actors and removing Black actors. 

Vanessa Vanderpuye, the actress who was removed in the final cut of the advert, called out the supermarket giant for their decision and also stated that she had to do her own hair on set.

In a video posted on Instagram, Vanderpuye said: “I’m always the token black girl and I always have a white husband with me, which for me is progress.”

“Three years ago, my afro wasn’t desirable,” she continued; “they wanted me to suppress it on screen; so to be cast as a dark-skinned couple for the new Tesco commercial, I was so excited because I had never seen that.”

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “Our Food Love Stories campaign has featured more than 70 stories from people of all backgrounds. We were sorry to hear that Vanessa was unhappy with the way our advert was edited, we immediately reached out to her to explain the reasons and process behind the decision.” 

The supermarket also denies that the decision to cut the couple was based on race and stated that none of the actors received hairstyling for the shoot.

Tesco’s decision to not include the Black couple comes after rivals Sainsbury’s was criticised for only including a black family in its ‘Gravy Song’ Christmas advert.

Whilst the supermarket was praised for its choice of actors, it received criticism on social media for its lack of inclusivity, despite being one of three adverts for this particular campaign. 

“Well done Sainsbury’s for making an ad with people who look like me. A loving father who embarrasses his daughter and claims kitchen genius because of one thing he makes well,” said one user on Twitter. 

Words: Omega Kamombo | Subbing: Anuj Datta

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