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Baskin Robbins hit by claims of sexualizing 11-year-old

By Choi Ji-won
  • Published : Jul 1, 2019 - 18:15
  • Updated : Jul 1, 2019 - 18:15

Baskin Robbins is at the center of heated debate concerning its latest promotional video, which features an 11-year-old model.

As the ad came under fire, the ice cream chain took it down from the internet and apologized Saturday.


(Screen grab from Baskin Robbins video ad)

The video, released Friday, features kid model Ella Gross advertising the new flavor “Pink Star.” She wears a sleeveless pink dress and savors the ice cream in various poses.

Within a day of the release, heated debate erupted online as to whether the ad was sexualizing the minor model.

Some online users pointed out that the makeup and clothes were evidently making her look older than her age, while some of her actions and expressions gave off sexual implications. One post on an online community that criticized the ad as sexualizing Gross received almost 3,000 likes. Referring to close-up images of her mouth, the commenter said the shots were intentionally inserted. 


(Screen grab from Baskin Robbins video ad)

In contrast, other users argued that such claims of sexualization resulted from oversensitivity. One online comment said the widely distributed screen captures of the video may have been selected in a way to exaggerate the purported sensual aspect. Others pointed out that the dispute centered on accusations is an offense to Gross and her family.

The company said in a statement, “We believe we put on Gross a typical amount of makeup for a child model and clothes from one of the child-wear brands that Gross was modeling for.” The company added that it had discussed with her parents how she would be portrayed in the ad via the agency prior to the production.


By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)