Actor Ashton Kutcher plays a series of stereotyped characters using an online dating service called WorldWideLovers in a new parody advertising campaign for Popchips, which is stirring controversy and described by many as racist (watch video below).
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The actor dons “brownface” to play Raj, an Indian Bollywood producer with a terrible accent and a mustache who is looking for “the most delicious thing on the planet.” This caused a storm on Twitter with many speaking against the ad, demanding it to be taken down and generally criticizing the “Two and a Half Men” star.
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Is the ad really racist or just in really poor taste? In a released statement, Popchips explained the commercials were meant to be funny and lighthearted, not meant to be offensive.
Popchips’ statement: “The new Popchips worldwide dating video and ad campaign featuring four characters was created to provoke a few laughs and was never intended to stereotype or offend anyone,” the company said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “At Popchips we embrace all types of shapes, flavors and colors, and appreciate all snackers, no matter their race or ethnicity. We hope people can enjoy this in the spirit it was intended.”
Keith Belling, founder and CEO of Popchips, also added in a statement: “We received a lot feedback about the dating campaign parody we launched today and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their point of view. 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.”
After the storm created by the release of the commercial, the individual “Raj” spot has been pulled from YouTube and is not expected to see the light of day. Meanwhile, you can still see “Raj” in the video featuring all the caricatured bachelors, which also include a total diva (Darl), a biker (Swordfish), a British hippie called Nigel, and Ashton himself.
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