American Red Cross takes down 'racist' swimming pool safety poster

The "Be Cool, Follow The Rules" poster contained more black children breaking the rules.
The "Be Cool, Follow The Rules" poster contained more black children breaking the rules. PHOTO: @JSAWYER330/TWITTER

The American Red Cross has apologised for a swimming pool safety poster after a complaint on social media that it had racist undertones.

The "Be Cool, Follow The Rules" safety poster sparked a controversy after Mr John Sawyer, from the city of Salida in Colorado, tweeted a photo of the poster last Tuesday (June 21).

"Hey, @RedCross, send a new pool poster to @SalidaRec because the current one they have w(ith) your name on it is super racist," he wrote.

It showed a scene of a swimming pool where there were more black children than white ones breaking the rules.

Those not behaving were labelled "not cool".

Responding to Mr Sawyer's tweet the next day, the Red Cross said it was removing the poster immediately and would be creating new materials.

It also apologised in a statement posted on its website on Monday (June 27): "The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced.

"We deeply apologise for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation's oldest and largest humanitarian organisations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day."

The Salida Pool and Recreation Department also replied to Mr Sawyer's tweet, admitting that it did not scrutinise the poster like it should have.

Reactions online, however, have been mixed. While some continued to criticise the Red Cross, others pointed out that there were white children in the poster doing "not cool" things.

Radio host Doc Thompson wrote on Twitter: "Super racist? Is that an official designation?? Apparently you missed the "not cool" white kids!"