The poster depicted kids in a pool under the title “Be Cool, Follow The Rules.” The kids and their actions are categorized as either being “cool” or “not cool”, with the “cool” kids displaying proper behavior.
However, the controversy stems from the fact that four out of the five kids who are “not cool” are minorities, and they are doing things such as diving and pushing other kids into the pool.
A number of people voiced their disappointment on social media.
The organization Black Kids Swim voiced their disappointment with the poster as well, mentioning that the posters had been in circulation and posted since 2014.
The Red Cross said it has removed the poster from its website and Swim App. It has also discontinued production of the poster, according to a statement on its website.
All facilities that partner with the Red Cross have also been notified to take the poster down.
“We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone,” the statement reads. “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. 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.”
The organization is also in the process of working with a “diversity advocacy organization” to receive guidance in the future.