Time after time, the casual use of blackface in Thai media has caused rage in the international community. The latest Thai comedian to put on the taboo face paint used it as part of an ill-advised hip-hop costume, and she actually won the ‘Best Dressed’ award at Channel 3’s annual costume party, where a hundred of the country’s top superstars were in attendance.
Famous comedian, and Channel 3 producer, Pajaree Na Nakorn, or “Poodle,” probably does not realize the racist message that the paint presents to an international audience. She proudly Instagrammed a paper that said she received THB5,000 from her big boss as a prize for having the best costume at the party on Saturday.
“Is this [money] worth all the facial cleansing cream I’ll have to use?” Poodle captioned her photo.
Channel 3, a big broadcaster known for their TV soaps, holds an annual party for their actors and staff to celebrate a successful year.
She went on to post another picture with tan-skinned actor Warintorn Panhakarn and captioned it with an less-than-endearing joke that he didn’t need to put on blackface to look dark.
“Dear my brother…Thank you for painting yourself black like me. What? You didn’t [put any paint]? You’re ‘naturally black’? Sorry!” she wrote.
As in Thai culture, Poodle’s actions are seen as a simple joke. None of the local newspapers noticed or pointed out Poodle’s blatantly racist remark.
In Thailand, lighter skin is seen as a symbol of higher social class and wealth. While there have been movements to accept tan skin, which the majority of Thais have, the country is mostly clueless when it comes to the political incorrectness of blackface from an international perspective.
Earlier this year, Cris Horwang, well-known actress and coach of The Face Thailand Season 2, was bashed in local media for advertising a whitening cream with an appalling message that she owed her success to her light skin.
The YouTube commercial featured Cris Horwang in black-face paint but then gradually becoming lighter after supposedly using the product.
Another famous blackface commercial was released by the Thai development team of U.S. donut company Dunkin’ Donuts in 2013. The ad was pulled quickly after receiving criticism.
After all, in the same year, a brand of Thai whitening cream wanted to offer scholarships only to students who had fair skin.