Ancestry.com apologizes for ad criticized for romanticizing slavery

Genealogical website Ancestry.com has apologized for a video advertisement depicting a white man in the 1800s telling a black woman they can "escape to the north."

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 8:48 AM


Genealogical website Ancestry.com has apologized for a video advertisement depicting a white man in the 1800s telling a black woman they can "escape to the north."

The ad, which aired on television and was posted on YouTube, shows the characters dressed in clothing from the 1800s running through an alley when they stop to talk.

The man holds a ring in his left fingers and tells the woman, named Abigail, that they can escape to the north. She starts to reply but he cuts her off saying they can go across the border where there is a place they can be together.

"Will you leave with me?" the man asks.

Critics said the commercial evoked images of slavery in the United States and a time when black women were subjugated and raped by white slave owners.

"What the hell is this @Ancestry?" Bishop Talbert Swan tweeted. "Why do white people insist on romanticizing my Black female ancestors experiences with white men during slavery? They were raped, abused, treated like animals, beaten, and murdered by white men. Stop with the revisions."

As the video ends, a "marriage certificate" appears on the screen, saying that the couple portrayed were wed in Canada in 1857.

The ad, titled "Inseparable," was published April 2 on YouTube, but the video went viral on Twitter Thursday and was later removed from the video-sharing platform.

In a statement sent to the media, the company, also one of the largest DNA-testing sites, said: "Ancestry is committed to telling important stories from history. This ad was intended to represent one of those stories. We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused."

CNN has reached out to Ancestry to seek more information about the ad, which directed users to ancestry.ca.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 602120

Reported Deaths: 34339
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens862467341
Kings851087485
Bronx613165035
Nassau571272241
Suffolk568652035
Westchester472621500
New York426643221
Erie21572762
Richmond212131118
Rockland20708692
Orange15987517
Monroe12771313
Onondaga9362222
Dutchess6728183
Albany5148148
Broome4927133
Oneida4210146
Niagara3213103
Ulster307398
Chemung270232
Putnam247264
Schenectady213655
Sullivan209348
Saratoga196919
Steuben159987
Rensselaer152850
Chautauqua140316
Oswego12736
Ontario112937
Tioga104348
Wayne96712
Columbia96556
Tompkins9360
Cortland9071
Cattaraugus90124
Allegany85649
Madison82118
Genesee8008
Cayuga7357
St. Lawrence6786
Greene63318
Livingston6178
Herkimer58211
Chenango57810
Orleans57656
Warren54335
Otsego5298
Fulton45428
Jefferson4352
Washington43014
Clinton4285
Wyoming4195
Montgomery39612
Delaware3149
Lewis3069
Schuyler2713
Seneca2535
Essex25014
Franklin2395
Yates2397
Schoharie1762
Hamilton391
Out of NY0118
Unassigned018
Utica
Scattered Clouds
37° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 31°
Oneonta
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 25°
Herkimer
Scattered Clouds
37° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 31°
Thendara
Scattered Clouds
37° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 31°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Thanksgiving Sweepstakes
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve