NEW YORK • Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson has said it would no longer sell certain products that are advertised as dark-spot reducers, but have been used by some purchasers to lighten skin tone.
The product lines, Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear, were not distributed in the United States but were sold in Asia and the Middle East.
“Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our Neutrogena and Clean & Clear dark-spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
“This was never our intention – healthy skin is beautiful skin.”
The company said its website was being updated to remove links to both products, which may still appear on shelves “for a short while”.
“We will no longer produce or ship the product line,” the company said.
The statement followed a string of announcements last week by companies saying they would be removing brands that have been criticised for using racist imagery to sell products.
Last Wednesday, the owners of Cream of Wheat, Uncle Ben’s Rice and Mrs Butterworth’s all said they would be reviewing how the brands’ products are packaged.
Those announcements came after Quaker Oats said it would retire Aunt Jemima, the pancake mix and syrup brand, after acknowledging that its logo, a grinning black woman, was based on a racial stereotype.
Other firms have been criticised for expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, while also selling products that advertise their skin-lightening effects.
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling on Unilever to stop selling Fair & Lovely, a skin-lightening product marketed in India and the Middle East.