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Ford Recalls Promotional Materials Where Blacks’ Faces Changed To White In Photo

Ford U.K. Ltd, the British arm of the Ford Motor Co., came under attack in parliament on Wednesday after it was revealed that the company changed black faces to white in an advertising campaign.

Four black assembly workers found that their faces and hands had been colored white when a 1991 promotional picture was resurrected this year to illustrate literature for the new Ford credit options scheme for auto buyers.

A legislator for the opposition Labor party accused the company of racism.

The four were among 25 from Ford’s plant at Dagenham 10 miles east of central London who posed for a promotional picture, their trade union said.

The four - a woman and three men - complained to a Transport and General Workers Union representative. The issue led to an investigation by Ford bosses and advertisers Ogilvy and Mather.

Rich Van Leeuwen, managing director of Ford Credit, said in a statement Tuesday apologizing to workers and customers: “We believe we have satisfactorily explained to the trade union that there was absolutely no racial motive.” Ford withdrew the posters and scrapped thousands of copies of the booklet featuring the all-white line-up on its front cover.