How far is too far in the name of comedy?
Ashton Kutcher’s latest advertisement for Popchips has been pulled after complaints that it was racist. The advertisement, which was part of a $1.5 million campaign, featured Kutcher playing four different roles in a spoof commercial for a dating service. The controversial character in question is his portrayal of Raj, a Bollywood producer. For the role, Kutcher wore brown makeup and spoke with an Indian accent.
Many let their feelings known to Popchips on Twitter with one saying, “Newsflash to @popchips - never heard of you before. Now I'll see your name and think "racists" not "yummy snack" Fail! #BoycottPopChips.” Since then, the video has been removed from Popchips’ YouTube channel and the company has attempted to distance itself from the controversy. It has removed any mention of the character from its Facebook page.
Popchips CEO, Keith Belling, apologised for the advertising campaign and said that the company did not mean to cause offence. Belling said, “Our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs.”
What do you think of the advertisement? Is it racist, is it funny, or was it designed to push a few buttons so that people would be talking about Popchips? As for Kutcher himself, he is currently fulfilling the role left vacant by Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men and is set to star as Steve Jobs in a movie about his life.