Gap ad featuring Waris Ahluwalia defaced by racist comments

‘Make bombs,’ ‘Please stop driving taxis’ on ad in NYC.

By Deepak Chitnis

Gap ad defaced
Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

WASHINGTON, DC: A Gap billboard featuring Sikh actor and model Waris Ahluwalia has been defaced with racist graffiti, and the company has taken immediate action to show its support of Ahluwalia and the Sikh community.

The large billboard ad, located in New York City, was first tweeted out by Arsalan Iftikhar, a writer and blogger who goes by the Twitter handle @TheMuslimGuy. Graffiti scrawled on the ad says “Please stop driving taxis” and, instead of “Make love,” which is GAP’s current tagline, the vandals have written “Make bombs.”

Iftikhar tweeted the ad at the official Gap Twitter account. The company promptly responded by asking Iftikhar where the ad was seen. The company then changed their Twitter profile from a blank white background to the image of Ahluwalia on the advertisement.

There is no word yet about a possible criminal investigation into the vandalism, and Ahluwalia himself has not yet commented on the incident.

Although the general public – especially the Sikh community – has reacted positively to Ahluwalia’s inclusion in Gap’s winter 2013 ad campaign, it seems as though some in America haven’t taken kindly to a typical Caucasian model being displayed in malls and on streets across the nation.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Iftikhar said that he tweeted the photo out to his more than 35,000 followers because he “wanted the world to see how brown people are viewed in America today.”

Originally from near Amritsar, Punjab, Ahluwalia is a well-known fashion designer and actor who is frequently listed among the best-dressed and most stylish men in the entertainment and fashion industries. He has established his own company, House of Waris, which deals mostly in fine jewelry and scarves, through which he has collaborated with some of the biggest names in fashion.

As an actor, Ahluwalia is perhaps best remembered for his small roles in Wes Anderson films like 2007’s The Darjeeling Express, and his small but memorable turn in Spike Lee’s 2006 crime thriller Inside Man, which starred Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster.

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