Ancestry.com has come under fire for releasing an ad that some say romanticizes slavery.
In the commercial titled, “Inseparable,” a white man can be seen trying to convince his lover — a black woman named Abigail, to flee the deep South, presumably during the Civil War.
“We can escape to the North. There’s a place we can be together, across the border,” the man says.
“Will you leave with me?” he adds before the video fades into black.
The clip ends with the words “Without you, the story stops here,” plastered across the screen.
Many outraged viewers were quick to take their frustrations to Twitter, slamming the Utah-based company for making light of the seriousness of slavery and the hardships African Americans faced even after they were freed.
Also many criticized the love story for not reflecting the fact that most biracial children at the time were the product of rape of black women by slave owners. Slavery was officially abolished in the U.S. in 1865.
“What the hell is this @Ancestry? Why do white people insist on romanticizing my black female ancestors’ experiences with white men during slavery,” Bishop Talbert Swan wrote on Twitter.
“They were raped, abused, treated like animals, beaten, and murdered by white men. Stop with the revisions.”
“While it’s true that 1 in 4 black folks who test their male line through DNA end up finding a white man, it ain’t because of no damn slavery love story. I’m so tired of y’all,” another user tweeted.
“@Ancestry it wasn’t a love story. White men were raping black women. We didn’t forget. Do better,” a different tweet read.
“Ooooh my god LMAOOO who approved this ancestry commercial??” another viewer expressed.
“I have all the frowns in the world right now. WTF @Ancestry. Do you not know that most of the mixed ancestry of black families are likely from sexual assault and NOT the IR/slavery fairy tale you’re pushing this commercial? Do better,” a different user wrote.
As the backlash continued to pour in, Ancestry.com issued an apology and an explanation.
“Ancestry is committed to telling important stories from history,” the company tells PEOPLE. “This ad was intended to represent one of those stories.”
“We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused.”
The ad has since been pulled from the internet.
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