The Red Cross has apologized for their “Be Cool, Follow The Rules” poster issued in 2014 to promote safety at swimming pools.
Margaret Sawyer first noticed the poster at a pool in Salida, Colorado. She became angry, and posted it online, where it began to gain attention via social media.
Sawyer and others believe that the white children were shown doing the safe “cool” things in the poster, while children of colour were depicted ignoring the pool rules and doing “not cool” things.
Here is the statement issued by The Red Cross Monday:
The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced,” the statement said. “We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day.
To this end, we have removed the poster from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production. We have notified all of our partner aquatic facilities requesting they take down the poster. Our organization has emphasized to our partners and on social media that it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone and apologized for this inadvertent action. We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward.