A Popchips ad featuring Ashton Kutcher made up in various costumes, including one as a brown-faced Indian Bollywood Producer set off a slew of social media posts charging the company and Kutcher with racism.
The ad is a spoof dating commercial that appeared on the Popchips website. In it, actor Ashton Kutcher impersonates male dating candidates doing videos. The Grio.com reports that one is a "Bollywood Producer" named Raj featuring Kutcher in brownface, wearing a fake Indian outfit and using a phony (supposed to be funny) Indian accent, who says he's "looking for the most delicious thing on the planet". Kutcher also appears as a stoner, a heavily tattooed Southerner and a gay fashionista.
The ad spawned a viral social media storm of criticism. EOnline quotes Technical blogger Anil Dash, who wrote,
"I think the people behind this Popchips ad are not racist. I think they just made a racist ad, because they're so steeped in our culture's racism that they didn't even realize they were doing it."
New York rappers Das Racist also tweeted their concerns about Ashton Kutcher's decision to star in such a campaign,
"Hey @aplusk, what's with the racist brownface video you talentless, pretending to care about sex trafficking piece of s--t?"
And a YouTube commenter wrote
"Brownface. Great. Yes, that's racist. Yes, it has to be called out. SMH [shake my head] at Ashton Kutcher."TMZ reports that Popchips pulled the Raj video down from YouTube and Facebook, but continued the campaign without him in their spots. Company CEO Keith Belling issued this statement.
"We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended."
Some Twitter comments criticized Kutcher and Popchips for using a white actor for the Indian character.