Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 20:15
Albert Heijn on keeping Zwarte Piet: Can’t please everyone
Albert Heijn grocery stores will continue to use the blackface character Zwarte Piet as part of their winter holiday promotions around the Sinterklaas holiday. “We are sincerely bothered that cultural practices around the beloved Sinterklaas parties may be offensive,” parent company Ahold said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we cannot do good by everyone,” the company added. They did say local concerns will be taken into consideration. Rival suparmarket chain Jumbo said that this year they would also make use of white helpers in advertising and packaging following, they say, the tone set out in last year’s broadcast of the annual Sinterklaas Journaal children’s television show. Sinterklaas-related goods will go on sale at Albert Heijn beginning next week. Zwarte Piet will carry the traditional blackface look on the packaging, also with the character that looks more like it was smeared with soot. Though it was rumoured last year that the grocer was going to completely ban Zwarte Piet, that was not the case.