Someone else noticed a sex doll in the photo.
Via The DP
Following national conversations on race relations, Penn students were confronted with the issue on campus in the form of a holiday card.
On Sunday night, a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity posted what became a controversial Christmas photo on Facebook. The photo showed the brothers — most of whom appear to be caucasian — posing in holiday attire in a living room. Next to one of the brothers on the left of the photo was a dark-skinned blow-up doll.
In a draft of an apology emailed by College senior and Phi Delta Theta President Jimmy Germi to UMOJA co-chairs Wharton junior Rachel Palmer and College sophomore Ray Clark, the fraternity said that the doll was a Beyoncé sex toy originally meant as a gag gift at the group’s Secret Santa event.
“Given the larger conversations and actions taking place in the country, there’s never been a worse time to do what they did,” said College senior Keishawn Johnson, president of Penn’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
He referenced the conversations surrounding race relations sparked by the recent alleged police brutality cases in Ferguson and Staten Island. “It’s not just about police brutality, but about a society that puts a particular lens on African-Americans,” Johnson said.
Beyond the racial implications of the photo, students were also offended by the depiction of a female body through the use of a sex doll.
“The inclusion of a racially and sexually charged object in such a flagrant fashion displays a serious and immediate need for repercussions that reflect the severity of this misogynistic, racist offense,” a joint statement issued by the 5B — the five umbrella coalitions for minority groups on campus — and the Penn Consortium for Undergraduate Women said. “We—UMOJA, APSC, UMC, Latin@ Coalition, Lambda Alliance, and PCUW—firmly believe that when an event like this marginalizes one of our communities, it marginalizes us all.”
“What particularly concerns us is how flippant this deeply misogynistic and racist choice seems to have been,” an addendum from the PCUW read.
The draft apology, signed “The Brothers of Phi Delta Theta at the University of Pennsylvania,” said the Beyoncé sex toy was “distasteful” and that “once removed from the packaging, it bore no semblance to the artist beyond skin color adding to its offensive nature.” The apology said “there were absolutely no prejudicial motivations behind the gift,” but acknowledged that “the absence of racial motivation is no justification for this act of poor judgement and the decision not to include a sex toy in a holiday picture should have been an easy one.”