AN AMERICAN SNACK company has apologised after its latest ad campaign took some serious flack for featuring a ‘browned-up’ Ashton Kutcher imitating an Indian man.
Popchips founder and CEO Keith Belling said he appreciated the feedback on what he thought was a light-hearted dating campaign parody. On his website, he posted the following statement:
our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. we did not intend to offend anyone. i take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.
Anil Dash, one of the most vocal complainants, explained his hurt at what he described as an emblem of the flaws in culture and not just a PR mistake.
Naturally, a bunch of us (initially mostly Indian diaspora members whom I follow on Twitter) started complaining about it, and a number of like-minded allies also registered their offense as well. I can’t imagine I have to explain this to anyone in 2012, but if you find yourself putting brown makeup on a white person in 2012 so they can do a bad “funny” accent in order to sell potato chips, you are on the wrong course. Make some different decisions.
What do you think? Light-hearted parody or racism?