Ashton Kutcher "Brownface" Ad Pulled After Racism Complaints

Popchips CEO apologizes for "light-hearted parody."

By COURTNEY MARMON
|  Thursday, May 3, 2012  |  Updated 8:03 AM PDT
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Ashton Kutcher "Brownface" Ad Pulled After Racism Complaints

Ashton Kutcher in brownface playing Raj, a 39-year-old Bollywood producer, in the controversial ad.

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Ashton Kutcher’s new “brownface” ad has been pulled and the CEO of the company whose product he hawked has issued a red-faced apology.

The “Two and a Half Men” star’s new advertisement for Popchips was taken down from the Internet within a day of its release amid complaints it was racist.
 
The snack brand’s ad featured Kutcher, in brownface and speaking with a thick Indian accent, playing Raj, a 39-year-old Bollywood film producer who was “looking for the most delicious thing on the planet.”
 
The ad, which parodied a dating service, went online on May 2, and was removed Thursday morning amid a firestorm of criticism on the Internet, The Huffington Post reported.
 
“I can’t imagine I have to explain this to anyone in 2012, but if you find yourself putting brown makeup on a white person in 2012 so they can do a bad ‘funny’ accent in order to sell potato chips, you are on the wrong course,” Indian-American tech entrepreneur Anil Dash wrote on his website.
 
New York rappers Das Racist also slammed the ad.
 
“Hey if you care, call popchips at 18662179327, hit 2 and register your concern, they got to pull this s*** and apologize,” he tweeted to his nearly 34,000 followers.
 
Keith Belling, founder and CEO of Popchips, issued an official apology for the ad on the company’s website.
 
“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,” he wrote. “I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.”

 
While the full-length ad featuring Kutcher playing Raj was removed from Popchips’ Youtube channel, Raj is still included in a compilation ad online, which shows Kutcher playing Raj as well as several other characters.  
 
Kutcher has not yet responded to the controversy.

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