*Addressing the racial outcry over her black daughter’s appearance in a new GapKids ad in which a white girl uses her daughter’s head as an armrest, white actress Brooke Smith has come forward to reveal that she is the mother of both girls.
“They are sisters!” she explained in a tweet.
Smith, who plays Frances in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and was the kidnapped girl in “Silence of the Lambs,” clarified in another tweet: “Girl with arm resting on her shoulder is her sister. She didn’t talk in [the] video because she was too shy. Everyone needs to calm down.”
they are sisters! https://t.co/eM1HjRqIdi
— Brooke Smith (@Iam_BrookeSmith) April 3, 2016
As previously reported, the controversial photo is part of an ad campaign for Ellen DeGeneres’ Gap Kids collaboration line, GapKids x ED. On Monday, the company tweeted images from the campaign, captioned “meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.”
But the positioning of Smith’s adopted 9-year-old daughter Lucy Dinknesh Lubensky as an armrest for her sister, Fanny, rubbed folks the wrong way.
The backlash that ensued included various forms of the below sentiment:
@GapKids so basically little black girls can be arm rest!!! ????? smh this is disgusting
— I Hate Kelz (@4everKelz) April 3, 2016
After Smith explained that the girls in the photo were sisters, not everyone could get past their positioning as a symbol of how blacks are viewed in American society.
— stacia l. brown (@slb79) April 3, 2016
Despite the photo depicting a big sister leaning on her little sister, Smith said Gap would’ve been better off going with the other photos from the shoot, and that she’d like to have a frank discussion about “race in America” — offline.
She has been engaging with folks who are still offended by the photo:
As previously reported, Gap has since apologized and decided to use another photo for the campaign.