Yesterday, Ashton Kutcher's strange Popchips ad hit the Internet, and the backlash has gone as expected.
The campaign features the Two and a Half Men star posing as several different personalities: a stoner, a tattooed dude, a pasty fashionista (named Darl, à la Karl Lagerfeld we imagine), and a Bollywood producer named Raj. One video combined all of the characters in a reel (seen below), and separate videos profiled the characters individually.
The latter personality has been called racist and offensive, since Kutcher appears in brown makeup. "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. Make some different decisions," tech writer/entrepreneur Anil Dash wrote on his blog.
Since then, the separate video featuring Kutcher as Raj has been taken down, while other profiles remain online.
Popchips has responded by saying, "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. At Popchips we embrace all types of shapes, flavors, and colors, and appreciate all snackers, no matter their race or ethnicity. We hope people can enjoy this in the spirit it was intended."
TMZ reports that Popchips has officially pulled the commercial, with CEO Keith Belling saying in a statement, "We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended."