By Victoria Gaddy, Chapter Member
In celebration of holiday spirit and caring, Gap created their “Make Love” campaign, hoping to embrace the holidays and promote joy and peaceful supporters. Celebrities and activists such as Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, Connie Britton, Harry Belafonte and Q-Tip are a part of this campaign . Gap promotes the cause through a series of videos that work to aid the “exploring the arts foundation” created by Tony Bennett, as well as a photo campaign. The combination of videos and photos of diverse, joyful, and engaging people help to show the view that Gap has this holiday season.
Shortly after the promotion of this new campaign, a New York subway poster was vandalized in a negative and malicious way, attacking one of the models, Waris Ahluwalia, a jewelry maker and actor. The vandal used the phrase , “Please stop driving TAXIS,” which was written below the two models, and the campaign slogan was changed from “make love” to “make bombs.”
After the image hit the Internet, action was taken by a voice in the Muslim community and founder of themuslimguy.com, Arsalan Iftikhar. Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer and global media commentator. After being shown what had happened by Iftikhar , Gap acted quickly to stand against the racist slurs and unacceptable act against the peaceful movement and intent of the “make love” campaign.
Gap took control of this outrageous and unfortunate situation by becoming a presence that is aware of the issue, and promptly made a statement in response to the hateful vandalism to their work. This statement was first to tweet @themuslimguy to determine where the vandalized poster was, and then bring the attacked image to the forefront as their Twitter background. With their actions, Gap demonstrates the power of an image and fast reaction, which received praise and positive response from effected communities, and all who want to be a part of the “make love” ideal.