After #NotBuyingIt Campaign, CNN Removes Racist Portrayal of Freddie Gray

A CNN article published Tuesday evoked racial stereotypes in describing Freddie Gray, a black Baltimore teen who died in police custody, with irrelevant details about his mother. In contrast, the outlet didn’t include the background of any of the six officers charged in this death. To hold CNN accountable for perpetuating harmful racial stereotypes, The Representation Project sprung into action with a #NotBuyingIt campaign. Within three hours, CNN had removed the description.


  1. In an article published Tuesday, CNN describes Freddie Gray as the "son of an illiterate heroin addict."
  2. Lauren Galik and Jezebel flagged the harmful descriptor.
  3. Then The Representation Project started a #NotBuyingIt campaign, challenging CNN's portrayal:
  4. Soon tweets started pouring in:
  5. Within three hours CNN removed the description and included the following editor's note:
  6. CNN's president, Jeff Zucker also apologized to staff:
  7. Our #NotBuyingIt and #MediaWeLike campaigns inspire people to join together in celebrating good representations and calling out the bad, everywhere from advertising to merchandising. Learn more: