Ashton Kutcher’s Popchips Dating Ad Pulled For “Brownface”

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Ashton Kutcher's controversial Raj character for PopChips Worldwide Dating ad

So, yesterday, we kind of ignored Ashton Kutcher’s fake ad for WorldwideLovers.com (actually an for Popchips), because, well, we just didn’t find it all that funny. Maybe interesting to see Ashton’s attempts to look unattractive, but yeah, not funny. And because that made us dismiss it, we kind of missed the bigger controversy, which really blew up by yesterday afternoon: That the Kardashian-loving “Bollywood producer” Raj is a pretty racist stereotype. After several pundits and regular viewers complained of Kutcher’s “brownface,” the snack company removed Raj’s profile video from its Facebook site. But not, interestingly, from the Youtube video featuring all of the characters.

“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,” said a statement from Popchips given to TheWrap.com.

Pundit Anil Dash was happy with the company’s apology, but his blog points out that a few other people need to own up to their mistake, namely, the ad agency, the PR firm and Ashton Kutcher himself. Also, the media that reported on the ad but failed to recognize its inherent racism right off the bat: “The media who covered this campaign should admit their blindness to the obvious offensiveness of this campaign,” he wrote.

It is pretty interesting to think about how we would have reacted had Kutcher been in blackface. It seems some taboos just aren’t on people’s radar, and we hope an incident like this might fix that. (Irreverent side note: When will we hear from Karl Lagerfeld about the offensiveness of Kutcher’s “Darl”?)

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