Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Latino coalition chides Spirit Airlines for 'Justice Ochita' ad

A group of Latino organizations complained Friday about a Spirit Airlines cheap fares promotion, which depicted a Latina woman in judge’s robes called “Justice Ochita Suprema.” The groups have reacted negatively to the ad, which was posted on the airlines website until yesterday, because they see it as a stereotype that mocks Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The letter by Al Piña, chair of the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition, chides the airlines marketing department. “Your ads portraying Judge Sotomayor as a cartoon character selling tickets is nothing but disrespectful,” Piña wrote. “It is obvious that your marketing department does not understand the significance of this nomination to the Supreme Court for ALL Latinos in our country.”

The company,
which denied any racial motivation or ill-will yesterday, had taken down the animated “Justice Ochita” today. But they had replaced her with another ethnic mascot: "Cheapano Fibonacci," a hat-wearing, mustached Italian offering $1 fares.

Ochita and Fibonacci are part of
the airlines' cast of racial and ethnic mascots. They also have black, Asian and white characters that are used for their cheap fares promotions.

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