LOS ANGELES: A swimming pool poster by the American Red Cross society has been branded 'racist' on social media for allegedly portraying coloured children as 'not cool', forcing the humanitarian organisation to apologise.
The 'water safety' poster shows a group of youngsters engaging in various activities at a pool in Fort Morgan, Colorado. It labels them 'cool' or 'not cool' depending on whether behaviour adheres to the site's rules, including no pushing others in the water.
However, it has sparked outrage on Twitter after apparently disproportionately portraying young black swimmers as 'not cool'. One user, John Sawyer from Washington, US, declared the Red Cross should replace the poster because "the current one... is super racist".
Another user, Matt Hickman, tweeted: "Seriously, RedCross? Behaving white kids are 'cool'; children of color depicted as misbehaving/'not cool' #racism." The Red Cross has since apologised for the poster, which is titled 'Be Cool, Follow The Rules'.
In a statement , the organisation said: "The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced. We deeply apologise for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone."
"As one of the nation's oldest and largest humanitarian organisations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day. To this end, we have removed the poster from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production. We have notified all of our partner aquatic facilities requesting they take down the poster," it was quoted as saying by the NBC.
It added: "Our organisation has emphasised to our partners and on social media that it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone and apologised for this inadvertent action."