1:42 pm - 07/07/2019

Baskin Robbins hit by claims of sexualizing 11-year-old YG child model Ella Gross

Baskin Robbins is at the center of heated debate concerning its latest promotional video, which features an 11-year-old model.

As the ad came under fire, the ice cream chain took it down from the internet and apologized Saturday. (OP note: Ad was released and pulled down on the same day)

The video, released Friday, features kid model Ella Gross advertising the new flavor “Pink Star.” She wears a sleeveless pink dress and savors the ice cream in various poses.

Within a day of the release, heated debate erupted online as to whether the ad was sexualizing the minor model.

Some online users pointed out that the makeup and clothes were evidently making her look older than her age, while some of her actions and expressions gave off sexual implications. One post on an online community that criticized the ad as sexualizing Gross received almost 3,000 likes. Referring to close-up images of her mouth, the commenter said the shots were intentionally inserted.

In contrast, other users argued that such claims of sexualization resulted from oversensitivity. One online comment said the widely distributed screen captures of the video may have been selected in a way to exaggerate the purported sensual aspect. Others pointed out that the dispute centered on accusations is an offense to Gross and her family.

The company said in a statement, “We believe we put on Gross a typical amount of makeup for a child model and clothes from one of the child-wear brands that Gross was modeling for.” The company added that it had discussed with her parents how she would be portrayed in the ad via the agency prior to the production.

[Article Translation Images]

An explanation to why this blew up:

(I recommend reading the whole tweet-chain, there are more insightful thoughts said.)

Statement by Ella Gross' mother:

"I wanted to take a moment to address the reaction that Ella received to a recent project that she worked on with Baskin Robbins Korea. I’m saddened to see how certain segments of the Korean public reacted to this commercial. What was honestly meant to be a fun commercial for a new ice cream flavor is being perceived by them as something disgusting and horrific. As most women, I have many roles in my life. However, I am first and foremost a mother, a title in which I take great pride and value above anything else. Ella is my daughter who I would gladly give my life for. It pains me that people have lashed out in such a careless and combative way. Ella continues to grow up with strong faith in God and I pray she will be a role model for other girls. What matters most is how you are on the inside. Ella is a beautiful soul because she truly does not have any bad intentions. She is one of the most hard working, strongest, sweetest, down to earth girls you will ever meet. She is intelligent, she is humble, and she really is a great girl. To those that are rallying against the Baskin Robbins commercial, stop saying that you are doing this “for Ella.” She is surrounded and loved by many strong and powerful women who wholeheartedly have her best interests at heart and who are confused and angered by your hurtful and negative reactions to a beautiful child. To Ella’s fans, her friends and family that pour love onto our sweet girl, I truly want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. I have realized how a few words of kindness really mean more than a thousand words of hate. I am so thankful for you all! ~Ella’s Mom"

She then added another comment:
"Do you guys really think that taking Ella’s pictures from her Instagram and talking trash ABOUT A CHILD is protecting her and all the little girls? What goes on in your minds? Especially on so called Korean Mom and feminist blogs?? Do you not see that that is completely contradicting yourselves?? We are blaming you (the mother), not Ella so don’t be naive comments justify talking trash about a girl and her family rather than actually fighting against sick minded pedophiles? If you have time to come here, take her pictures and analyze my child, make better use of your time to really fight for what you claim to be fighting for."

source: 한국어광고HUB【KOREAN COMMERCIALS HUB】1, koreanherald, ellagross, balgarakdoogae, netsukei, Idaia80, qilaou, hankyoreh via jeeelim5 2

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tungatunga 7th-Jul-2019 11:56 am (UTC)
Screenshot look worse than actual commercial, she overly adult styled, but those close up of eating ice cream are pretty standard for this kind of ads, or maybe I'm desensitized because now there is plenty of ice cream ads, and they all look the same.

But reading the comments about SK context, it's clear they should pressure the relevant institution for more strict regulations on using kids images in marketing that attacking Ella's family on instagram.
myrrhcat 7th-Jul-2019 11:56 am (UTC)
if you can't see anything sexual about the commercial, then you probably don't have much experience looking at media with a critical eye. you can show a child enjoying ice cream without putting her in heavy makeup (maybe that's "typical" for a child model in sk, but does that make it okay?!), zooming deep in her eyes and showing a super closeup of her mouth while she's eating it, along with the shots of milk splashing...
none of these are *inherently* sexual, but they're a way to add sexual undertones while keeping plausible deniability.
it honestly seems to be selling her more than the product. i'm glad it was pulled and i hope (but doubt) that her parents will be more mindful about her work in the future.
nekokonneko 7th-Jul-2019 02:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I had the same thoughts. At best, it felt like an ad that was made for a 20 something ingenue (like IU or Seolhyun) but they dropped out last minute and the PD was like "I'll get my niece to fill in" and didn't change a single thing, including the make-up.
juhli 7th-Jul-2019 12:06 pm (UTC)
First I thought it was an overreaction, but reading more about the issue and the circumstances definitely made me change my opinion. especially the 2nd article and jeeelim's tweets show why this is a bigger problem than just this BR ad.
lydzi 7th-Jul-2019 12:12 pm (UTC)
Putting a picture of your child in full make-up and fake eyelashes is not helping your case.
warwarwar 7th-Jul-2019 12:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and some of the pictures on the girl’s Instagram are like... why isn’t this kid allowed to be a kid?? There’s this whole air of influencer perfection fakeness in the pictures that is really disconcerting.
goldenrosalie 7th-Jul-2019 12:36 pm (UTC)
well i sure saw blinks doing the most and blaming trash men in same sentence as adult women who had an issue with this cf (because apparently any criticism is a jealousy of old hags or something).
while i actually agree that there isn't anything horrible or strange about this cf and that it's mostly helping to show true colors of people who somehow see it as sexual... but i'm not sure if i can 100% agree with most popular intl assessment that if you have a problem with it then you are the problem. some of promo pics that i saw were.... let's say - strange and badly fitting for a child who is promoting ice cream.
juhli 7th-Jul-2019 12:56 pm (UTC)

premonitioner 7th-Jul-2019 01:03 pm (UTC)
oof, mom, not a great response
radowan 7th-Jul-2019 03:27 pm (UTC)
those comments from dudes make me wanna vomit
vintage_boom 7th-Jul-2019 03:28 pm (UTC)
yikes at the commercial and yikes at the moms response. she's part of the problem.
goshipgurl 7th-Jul-2019 03:30 pm (UTC)
i can't help but side-eye ella's parents, especially her mom who is running her account. this kid has been told since an early age that she's so beautiful and pretty. they only focus on her outer appearance and basically make her feel that her beauty is her only talent. every picture of her on instagram is ella looking pretty or cute. let her be a kid ffs and get a job instead of selling your kids' youth.
frequency 7th-Jul-2019 04:30 pm (UTC)
those men's comments make me want to vomit. yuck. 😷 someone should send her mom that link to jeeelim5's twitter thread and make her actually read the damn thing.
dior_chic 7th-Jul-2019 04:57 pm (UTC)
Oh god why does this little girl have 3 million followers
mthws 7th-Jul-2019 06:07 pm (UTC)
Pedophiles, mostly.
lilykt7 7th-Jul-2019 06:02 pm (UTC)
So Elle’s mom runs her instagram and I absolutely hate how she speaks on behalf of her daughter using daughters image and name. It just gives me a weird feeling of her literally living vicariously out of Elle.

dior_chic 7th-Jul-2019 06:17 pm (UTC)
Oh she definitely is
torontok 7th-Jul-2019 07:09 pm (UTC)
I can't stand her mother. I side-eye anyone who uses their child for money/clout and it's pretty clear that's what her mom is doing by linking her to blackpink/YG at every chance.Her kid could do modelling but there's zero need to splatter her image all over insta, usually in full makeup and styling too. She refuses to realise to realise that many of the communities criticizing this ad aren't attacking her daughter but the sexualization of young girls in media.
kimbafierce 7th-Jul-2019 11:34 pm (UTC)
She doesn't want to realize, because when she does she will know that she is doing the same exact thing to her child whom she loves dearly and will gladly die for.
idlewilds3 7th-Jul-2019 07:28 pm (UTC)
“Continues to grow up with a strong faith in God”...How is that even relevant here as an argument?! 🤔

The mom is full of bullshit and cares more about the $$ than protecting her children. Any parents who allow their kids to be in the public eyes likes this get major judgement from me.
gigabytexx 7th-Jul-2019 07:41 pm (UTC)
Her mom's response is just going in circles without addressing the real issue of why the mother even let her child being filmed that way (as BnR said, it was already being discussed with the parents. So any normal minds would not think bad of Ella the lil kid, but of course her mom duh)

I hate how most overly-admiring-parents will say that it's the public's fault for twisting an innocent image into something pervert ("if you think it's dirty then you're probably have something wrong in your head!!11) but uhhh it's 2019, not 1950. People can do the sickest thing beyond your imagination every day, I think it's not overrated to try to limit things.

The era is different.
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