Asia Baskin-Robbins pulls out ad of young girl eating ice cream for being...

Baskin-Robbins pulls out ad of young girl eating ice cream for being too ‘sexual’

The ad garnered mixed views, while many think that there's nothing wrong with a young girl enjoying some ice cream, there was an overwhelming response from mostly Korean internet users who criticised the commercial as being too sexual

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On June 28, American ice cream company Baskin-Robbins released a video directed specifically at Korean audiences, advertising exciting new ice cream flavours. The ad, which stars 11-year-old child model Ella Gross and promotes their new “Pink Star” ice cream flavour, sparked major controversy after unsettling reactions from Korean customers who called it sexually suggestive.

Baskin-Robbins has since pulled the ad and released a public explanation saying that the entire ad was approved of and shot in front of Gross’ parents. However, the controversy continued when internet users called the explanation an “excuse” instead of an “apology”, so Baskin-Robbins took that down as well.

Baskin-Robbins tapped Ella Gross, a well-known Korean-American child model and actress, to represent one of the ice cream company’s newest flavours for the Korean market, a strawberries-and-milk concoction called “Pink Star”.

The 30-second ad shows the young girl dressed in pink, eating and enjoying the pink-tinted ice cream.

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Here is the full video:

The video garnered very strong points of view from different audiences. While most think that there’s nothing wrong with a young girl enjoying some ice cream, there was an overwhelming response from mostly Korean internet users who criticised the commercial as being too sexual.

According to The Korea Timespeople felt that the way Baskin-Robbins shot the ad sexually objectified young Gross, calling the portrayal improper, specifically where the camera went in for a close-up for Gross eating the ice cream.

One internet user said, “The camera lens focused too much on her lips and her action of putting the ice cream into her mouth. It can be misinterpreted as sexual fantasies about children, referring to pedophilia,” an internet user said.

While some netizens’ reactions showed concern for the young girl’s image, questioning her make-up and outfit , a disquieting number of lascivious reactions from adult users are also disturbingly splayed all over different social media platforms. These sexually suggestive and sexually predatory comments by some netizens are sickening to read.

Baskin-Robbins responded to the backlash by releasing this public statement on their social media accounts:

“(The commercial) was planned to connect the image of Ella Gross, who has a confident and unique attitude despite her young age, to the image of ‘Pink Star’ and was produced after sufficient prior discussions with the child model’s parents and her agency. The commercial was filmed under the observation of Ella Gross’s parents and her makeup was done according to the standard level of child models wearing clothing from the children’s clothing brand that she is a model for. Despite the series of procedures and preparations, we have halted the exposure of the video to actively accommodate to the opinions of customers who feel uncomfortable about Ella Gross’s image in the commercial.”

Internet users found the statement to be insulting, calling it an “excuse” rather than an “apology”, so Baskin-Robbins took down the explanation to avoid escalating the controversy.

In an effort to silence all the negative feedback surrounding the Baskin-Robbins ad, Ella Gross’ mother posted this on Gross’ Instagram account, which she is in-charge of:

I wanted to take a moment to address the reaction that Ella received to a recent project that she worked on with Baskin Robbins Korea. I’m saddened to see how certain segments of the Korean public reacted to this commercial. What was honestly meant to be a fun commercial for a new ice cream flavor is being perceived by them as something disgusting and horrific. As most women, I have many roles in my life. However, I am first and foremost a mother, a title in which I take great pride and value above anything else. Ella is my daughter who I would gladly give my life for. It pains me that people have lashed out in such a careless and combative way. Ella continues to grow up with strong faith in God and I pray she will be a role model for other girls. What matters most is how you are on the inside. Ella is a beautiful soul because she truly does not have any bad intentions. She is one of the most hard working, strongest, sweetest, down to earth girls you will ever meet. She is intelligent, she is humble, and she really is a great girl. To those that are rallying against the Baskin Robbins commercial, stop saying that you are doing this “for Ella.” She is surrounded and loved by many strong and powerful women who wholeheartedly have her best interests at heart and who are confused and angered by your hurtful and negative reactions to a beautiful child. To Ella’s fans, her friends and family that pour love onto our sweet girl, I truly want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. I have realized how a few words of kindness really mean more than a thousand words of hate. I am so thankful for you all! ~Ella’s Mom

Here is her post:

View this post on Instagram

I wanted to take a moment to address the reaction that Ella received to a recent project that she worked on with Baskin Robbins Korea. I’m saddened to see how certain segments of the Korean public reacted to this commercial. What was honestly meant to be a fun commercial for a new ice cream flavor is being perceived by them as something disgusting and horrific. As most women, I have many roles in my life. However, I am first and foremost a mother, a title in which I take great pride and value above anything else. Ella is my daughter who I would gladly give my life for. It pains me that people have lashed out in such a careless and combative way. Ella continues to grow up with strong faith in God and I pray she will be a role model for other girls. What matters most is how you are on the inside. Ella is a beautiful soul because she truly does not have any bad intentions. She is one of the most hard working, strongest, sweetest, down to earth girls you will ever meet. She is intelligent, she is humble, and she really is a great girl. To those that are rallying against the Baskin Robbins commercial, stop saying that you are doing this “for Ella.” She is surrounded and loved by many strong and powerful women who wholeheartedly have her best interests at heart and who are confused and angered by your hurtful and negative reactions to a beautiful child. To Ella’s fans, her friends and family that pour love onto our sweet girl, I truly want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. I have realized how a few words of kindness really mean more than a thousand words of hate. I am so thankful for you all! ~Ella’s Mom

A post shared by Ella G. 🦋 (@ellagross) on

Ella’s mom emphasised that the commercial featuring her daughter was meant to be “fun” and yet is sadly being perceived by certain members of the Korean public as something “disgusting and horrific”. Scores of netizens agree that the ad is innocent and are appalled at the sexual objectification of a young girl.

What are your options on the commercial in question? /TISG

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