The Italian airline Alitalia was fiercely criticised this week after releasing an advertisement on social media that featured an actor wearing blackface playing former President Barack Obama.

The ad was one of four Italian-language videos made to promote the airline's recently announced nonstop flight from Rome to Washington. Its other videos showed actors portraying Presidents Donald Trump, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, with the hashtag #WhereIsWashington.

The video featuring the character of Obama quickly elicited angry comments on YouTube and Facebook, mostly written in Italian, after it was posted. Comments on Facebook called the video "outrageous" and noted that blackface