You’d think putting Ashton Kutcher’s face on your product would sell? Not so true for Popchips. The recent ad on their site was pulled and deemed racist due to Kutcher playing a Bollywood producer, full brownface and accent intact, named “Raj.”
Blogger Anil Dash and many others were not laughing at the mock “dating” ad for the snack once it hit the net. Dash said it’s “a hackneyed, unfunny advertisement featuring Kutcher in brownface talking about his romantic options, with the entire punchline being that he’s doing it in a fake-Indian outfit and voice,” adding, “I think the people behind this Popchips ad are not racist. I think they just made a racist ad.”
Yes, the brownface was too much, but would it have been pulled had he just worn his own skin tone, but still did the accent? Look at the new movie The Dictator or any of Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie, are those any less racist because no face paint was administered? Makes you think, doesn’t it…
Celebrities were quick to tweet about the ad. America’s Got Talent’ judge Sharon Osbourne was offended by the accent in a way, “The problem with Ashton Kutcher’s ad is that his impressions were so lame and weak and that’s why it’s offensive!”
Other famous folks didn’t even think twice. Aziz Ansari, and Indian man himself tweeted, “In light of the Ashton Kutcher PopChips scandal, I feel obliged to confess that in my AmEx spots I am also wearing brown face.” And of course Kim Kardashian had to get her two cents in on the matter since “Raj” mentioned her in the ad, “LOL @aplusk! Love this…” Of course she did, any attention is good attention to a Kardashian.
With the backlash, Popchips has taken down the ad and CEO Keith Belling issued an apology, “We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.”
Kutcher has been hush hush about the whole situation so far.