LOS ANGELES, April 6 (UPI) -- Apparel company Gap apologized for the photo in a new children's clothing ad that some have decried as racially insensitive.
In the photo, four young girls are posed together, with a white girl standing with her arm resting on a younger African-American girl's head. The Gap said it will remove the image, but will keep the larger ad campaign.
"While all of the girls are adorable and, indeed, all of them should grow up to be and do anything, it becomes problematic when the black child is positioned to be a white child's prop," said Kirsten West Savali of the website Root.com late last week.
The story went viral and got the Gap's attention.
"As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we've offended," Gap spokeswoman Debbie Felix told Fortune.
The ad campaign is part of broader plan by Gap to celebrate girl power. When the campaign launched last fall, the featured girls were drummers, skateboarders, entrepreneurs and inventors. The kids featured in the controversial ad were members of Le Petit Cirque, a traveling circus company of kids under the age of 14.
"This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment," the company said.
@TheRoot girl with arm resting on her shoulder is her sister She didn't talk in video because she was 2 shy. everyone needs to calm down.— Brooke Smith (@Iam_BrookeSmith) April 3, 2016
In another twist of the story, the girls happen to be sisters, according to a tweet from their mother, actress Brooke Smith.