WASHINGTON - A Washingtonian magazine marketing campaign, which debuted on social media over the weekend, is receiving backlash for its lack of diversity in featuring D.C. residents.
The "I Am Not A Tourist" campaign was previewed on the magazine's Instagram account with several pictures of people around the District wearing T-shirts with the slogan, "I'm not a tourist. I live here." Of numerous pictures in the post, none of the participants are African American, prompting complaints that the magazine is whitewashing the makeup of the District.
In a statement Monday, the magazine's president and CEO Catherine Merrill Williams apologized and wrote:
"As a native Washingtonian, I am very sorry that our latest “I Am Not A Tourist” marketing campaign did not represent the wonderfully diverse city in which we live.
"This was the very beginning of a campaign in which all intentions are to include the many communities that make up our city. We solicited pictures from a diverse group of people and put the pictures up in the order they came in. People who saw the initial gallery of pictures had no way of knowing that it was not, in fact, the entirety of the marketing campaign. We took down the initial post because it created an impression that was inconsistent with our values and standards. We’re confident that when the campaign is complete it will reflect the diversity of the readership that we serve.
"We always appreciate feedback and are glad that people take the time to point out when we let them down, as we did this time. I apologize on behalf of our entire team."
Instagram influencer and community activist Tony Lewis was one of the first to criticize the campaign's lack of representation of African Americans.
"The takeaway is that this is who lives here and we weren't represented," said Lewis. "I was outraged. I just felt like it didn't at all represent D.C. in its fullness. It was no black people at all in this ad."
Lewis plans his own photo shoot outside Union Market on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. He is inviting anyone who wants to be involved so that black Washingtonians left out of the magazine's campaign can represent their city.