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05th Nov 2021

John Lewis responds to racist abuse over new Christmas ad

Sarah McKenna Barry

The company said that they have a “duty of care” to the advert’s performers.

Every winter, the department store John Lewis unveils their annual Christmas ad, and they normally feature stunning visuals, beautiful music and a powerful story.

This year’s advert, of course, is no exception.

Titled The Unexpected Guest, the short film depicts the budding friendship between Nathan (Jordan A. Nash), a young boy, and Skye (Raffiella Chapman), an extraterrestrial who crash-landed on earth, set to Lola Young’s cover of Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 hit Together in Electric Dreams.

The commercial was well-received, with many labelling it as a “tear-jerker”. Unfortunately, however, some Twitter users hit the department store’s ad with racist abuse online, primarily because The Unexpected Guest’s young star and his family are Black.

John Lewis has since responded to the racism targeted at the advert and its cast.

In a statement issued to Metro, the department store’s customer director Claire Pointon said that the protection of those involved in the advert was of paramount importance.

Ms Pointon said: “We always have a duty of care to anyone who is in our adverts and one of the things myself and the rest of the team are really passionate about is casting on talent.”

She continued: “That’s the first thing. We didn’t have any prescriptive points of view. We wanted to represent a modern Britain, quite frankly, and that’s our customer base.

“I think it’s shocking when you get that [racist abuse] and unfortunately you do get racist abuse on certain stuff.”

Ms Pointon went on to say that the company has a “duty of care”, and takes any racist abuse “very seriously”.