North Carolina dentists apologize for wearing cultural garb in 'ignorant and offensive' ad

A North Carolina dental office came under scrutiny after three female dentists, wearing cultural costumes, appeared in ad encouraging people to get their teeth whitened because “Everyone smiles in the same language!”

The Renaissance Dental Center, located in Raleigh, apologized after an advertisement in the May issue of Midtown Magazine was called “ignorant and offensive,” the Daily News reported.

The ad featured three blond, white female dentists posing in cultural garb. Jill Sonner wore a Native American costume with a headband and beaded accessories.

Anna Abernethy donned a Scottish highlander outfit while Anita Wells dressed in a Japanese kimono. Wells was accessorized with chopsticks in her hair and a colorful hand fan.  

The advertisement read, “Everyone smiles in the same language!” and was promoting a teeth-whitening treatment.

The advertisement garnered some negative reviews and criticism from social media users who called it “offensive.”

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“How many people blindly thought this was OK?” one woman tweeted.

“I’m not smiling,” Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, the creator of a Native American publication, tweeted. “Welcome to 2018, to America, to racism without apology.”

"Do not dress up in Native American or Japanese garb if you are white, like it's some kind of whimsical joke," a social media user wrote. "How hard is this? It's not."

The dental office tweeted an apology for the advertisement stating they “attempted to focus upon something that unites us.”

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“In one of our recent advertisements, we attempted to focus upon something that unites us….the warmth and joy behind a smile. We now realize it was ignorant and offensive, and we are truly sorry. We have learned a valuable lesson in this situation. Again, our sincere apologies,” the apology stated.

Connie Gentry, Midtown Magazine’s editor, told The Washington Post she “failed” and “should have pulled that ad.”

The online version of the magazine has replaced the old ad with a new one featuring the three blond dentists wearing referee uniforms.

The dentists have appeared in ads before posing with wine and wearing outfits such as pajamas and construction worker garb.