The American Red Cross apologized on Monday for a pool safety poster featuring what many considered a racist illustration after pool-goers brought it to the organization's attention. The poster, which feature the header "Be Cool, Follow the Rules," shows cartoon characters at a pool with arrows pointing out who is following the rules and who is violating them.
The only problem is, all the cartoon white children in the Red Cross pool safety poster are doing the right thing, and all the rule-breakers in the illustration are black or brown.
On Monday, the Red Cross apologized for the poster, which was from a 2014 campaign, in a statement posted online, reported the Washington Post.
"The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced," the statement read. "We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone."
The organization added that it had removed the poster from its website and had discontinued production.
Margaret Sawyer noticed the Red Cross pool safety poster up at two different pools in her hometown of Salida, Colorado, before posting an image of it on social media, the Post reported.
A blonde girl climbing onto the diving board is labeled "cool" but the brown boy jumping off it is "not cool." The white man playing with a baby in the water is "cool" but the brown boy swimming with his mouth open is, for some reason, "not cool." The poster even shows what appears to be a black girl pushing a white girl into the water. To many viewers, the implication seemed to be that all the kids of color are rule-breaking troublemakers.
"I saw this one, and I just kept thinking, 'It looks like they're trying to do something here that shows all kids together of all different backgrounds, but they're clearly not hitting the mark,'" Sawyer told local outlet KUSA. "I felt really angry."