Coffee giant Dunkin' Donut has pulled an online ad featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray in scarf following hysterical protests from right-wingers who found the scarf similar to a traditional Arab headgear.
The coffee and baked goods chain said the ad that began appearing online May 7 was pulled over the past weekend because "the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee."
In the spot, Ray holds an iced coffee while standing in front of trees with pink blossoms.
The scarf on her looked like a kaffiyeh for some conservatives.
"The kaffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad," spewed Michelle Malkin, noted Fox News commentator in her nationally syndicated column.
"Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not so ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities and left-wing icons," Malkin asserted.††
Although reluctant at first and denying any intentional similarity† between the black and white wrap and a kaffiyeh, the Dunkin eventually caved in as the right-wing firestorm continued on the internet and now they have yanked the ad.
"In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial," Dunkin' executives explained in a statement.††
Malkin, in turn, hailed the Dunkin, praising their "sensitivity to the concerns of Americans opposed to Islamic jihad and its apologists."†
Ray, host of the Food Network television program "30 Minute Meals" as well as a syndicated daytime talk show, began appearing in ads for Dunkin' Donuts in March 2007. When Dunkin' announced the partnership, it said Ray would be featured in TV, print, radio and online spots in a campaign running through 2010.
She has declined to comment on the controversy.