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Aeromexico: Sorry for casting call telling dark-skinned people to not apply

By Cindy R. Rodriguez, CNN
updated 12:05 PM EDT, Sun August 18, 2013
Aeromexico apology for the language in an ad agency's casting call.
Aeromexico apology for the language in an ad agency's casting call.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Casting call for airline ad disallows dark-skinned participants
  • Aeromexico and ad agency apologize
  • Skin color subject of much discussion in Latin America

(CNN) -- Aeromexico airline and an advertising company apologized for a commercial casting call that said "dark-skinned" people would not be allowed to audition.

The casting call sought those with a "Polanco look," referring to a well-to-do white neighborhood in Mexico City.

A photo of the casting e-mail was taken by Mexican blogger Tamara De Anda, who expressed her frustrations on how the representations of brown people in Mexican media largely do not exist outside of government program announcements.

On Twitter, De Anda posted, "I received an email for a casting call from Aeromexico specifying that they don't want anyone dark-skinned. Tsss."

About 400 retweets later, the story gained traction on social media.

With a population of 20 million, Mexico City's racial makeup consists of mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%; Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%; white 9%; and other 1%, according to The World Factbook.

The airline pointed to an ad agency, Catatonia.

Aeromexico on Tuesday issued an apology for the language on Twitter, stating, "We're sorry for Catatonia's discriminatory stance, that was circulated today on social media. We offer our sincerest apology and reiterate our respect for all people, no matter their gender, language, religion, nor their skin color."

Catatonia expressed regret, according to Fox News Latino, stating it "offers a heartfelt apology for the publication on casting requirements that circulated on social networks."

Opinion: In Mexico, racism hides in plain view

The ad agency pointed to language used by a casting company.

Perceptions of skin color and discussions of racism have long been a subject of debate in Latin America.

Ruben Navarrette Jr., in a 2012 opinion piece for CNN, wrote, "On television, in politics and in academia, you see light-skinned people. On construction sites, in police forces and in restaurant kitchens, you're more likely to find those who are dark-skinned.

"In the priciest neighborhoods, the homeowners have light skin, and the housekeepers are dark. Everyone knows this, and yet no one talks about it, at least not in elite circles."

CNN reached out to Aeromexico on Friday but did not receive an immediate response.

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