NEW YORK (Reuters) - A move by Dunkin’ Donuts to pull an online ad featuring Rachael Ray after a blogger dubbed the celebrity chef’s scarf “hate couture” was an “incredibly silly situation,” a U.S. Islamic lobby group said on Thursday.
The ad, online for two weeks before Dunkin’ Donuts removed it last weekend, showed TV host Ray wearing a black and white scarf that some critics likened to a keffiyeh, a traditional Arab headdress.
Columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin said it was “hate couture,” after which others made similar criticisms.
“It’s sad that Dunkin’ Donuts pandered to that kind of fear-mongering. They have businesses in the Middle East, in the Arab world. It’s interesting to see how that will affect business there,” said Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Dunkin’ Donuts, which calls itself the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, said in a statement Ray had been wearing a silk scarf with a “paisley design” selected by a stylist with no intended symbolism. It pulled the ad due to the possibility of misperception, the company said.
Ray hosts morning lifestyle show “Rachael Ray” on ABC, also appears on the Food Network and has written recipe books.
“Our comment is no comment whatsoever,” Ray’s spokesman Charlie Dougiello said when asked about the ad’s removal.
Editing by Michelle Nichols and Eric Walsh