Burger King Pulls Mary J. Blige Ad, Denies Controversy Is to Blame

Critics say the ads reinforce racist stereotypes linking black Americans with fried chicken.

By Sam Schulz
|  Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012  |  Updated 11:36 AM PDT
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Mary J. Blige and Burger King came under fire for ad in which she extolled the virtues of the fast food chain's crispy chicken wraps in song. Critics said the ad relied on, and reinforced, racist stereotypes — but the company is denying that that's why it pulled the ad off the air, saying licensing concerns were at the root of the issue.

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Burger King has pulled its controversial ad in which Mary J. Blige waxes musical about chicken wraps — but its reasons aren't what you think, the fast food giant says.

Critics of the spot — and there are plenty — say it reinforces racist stereotypes linking black Americans with fried chicken.

But according to Burger King, it pulled the ad from its YouTube channel not because of the backlash but because of "a licensing issue."

The ads feature Blige on a Burger King tabletop crooning about the ingredients of the fast-food chain's crispy chicken snack wraps to the tune of her song "Don't Mind," MSNBC's The Clicker reported.

The company said it hoped to have the ad back soon but did not say whether there would be changes made to it.

The commercial is part of Burger King's ad campaign for healthier new menu items.

Selected Reading: The Hollywood Reporter, Gawker, The Clicker

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