Ashton Kutcher’s PopChips ad pulled after “brown-face” backlash: is the ad racist?

CB asked me yesterday whether or not we should cover Ashton Kutcher’s new commercial for “Popchips”. I vetoed the idea without even watching the commercial, just because my default position is “Ashton is a d-bag who doesn’t deserve attention.” Unfortunately, this PopChips ad is now a “thing.” A bad thing. In the ad, Ashton appears in various costumes, doing various bad accents, pretending it’s a dating commercial or something. One of the “costumes” involves Ashton wearing “brown-face” and doing a bad Indian accent and pretending he’s a horny Bollywood producer. Here’s the ad:

Yeah, he also does the “fey” thing when he’s in the Karl Lagerfeld get-up. So he possibly offended the gays as well as the Indians. As well as anyone of even moderate intelligence. Anyway, this ad just got pulled and now Ashton and PopChips are facing a lot of criticism:

Ashton Kutcher’s new Popchips commercials were meant to be funny and lighthearted, but one has been swiftly pulled – and an apology issued – following a grim reaction from Indian Americans.

The ad in which Ashton plays “Raj,” a Bollywood producer – complete with brownface makeup and a heavy Indian accent – has been removed from the Popchips website and other online channels amid an outcry that it is racist, reports The New York Times.

The most blistering critique came from Anil Dash, the tech entrepreneur. “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,” he wrote on his website.

The Two and a Half Men actor, 34, has yet to respond to the controversy. But Keith Belling, founder and CEO of Popchips, posted the following message on the company’s website: “We received a lot feedback about the dating campaign parody we launched today and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their point of view. 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. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.”

Added a company rep: “The new Popchips worldwide dating parody 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.”

The ad series spoofs dating videos. In other executions, Kutcher plays a diva, a hippie and a biker. Kutcher was named “president of pop culture” for Popchips in 2010, and worked on the commercials with the ad agency Zambezi in Los Angeles.

[From People]

Throughout the past… decade or so, I’ve become kind of jaded about this kind of “racism”. While I completely see the critics’ points about “brown-face” and the racism of the stereotype, I’m mostly offended by the stupidity. That’s what bugs me: this is just stupid. This is an awful idea, and I can’t believe someone thought, “Hey, what a great idea! This will be a perfect way to promote chips! Let’s hire Ashton Kutcher and get him do an Indian minstrel show!” How f–king dumb are they?

Screencaps from the ad.

 

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125 Responses to “Ashton Kutcher’s PopChips ad pulled after “brown-face” backlash: is the ad racist?”

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  1. QQ says:

    Yes to what you said, Considering this Dirtbag is no Thespian or particularly funny, but having perused a bit of his catalog this racist stupid offensive impersonations are as close as we are ever getting to his “best acting”

  2. daisy says:

    Don’t hate me but I thought it was kinda funny…

  3. Alexis says:

    He’s a goofy dbag, but I find him fairly inoffensive. I know I’m in the minority for not understanding why everyone hates him.

    • Hibitta says:

      ITA! I thought that it was pretty funny. Its not like he was actually aiming to specifically insult Indians. I wonder why nobody was offended at the mention of Native American feathers and the stereotypical ”redneck” . People need to lighten up a bit. The world is in an already cruel, fudged up, humorless place. Any well-balanced, educated individual knows that no one is superior or inferior. Its OK to relax a bit. Some people are using the race card as an easy way to sue and provoke people in the workplace. I dont think that this is a big deal, people have more important things to worry about , like advertisements that encourage us all to be a size 0. Or reality show ladies (term used very loosely) that portray being peed on by a man will get you a ticket to fame and millions, and another where a group of young adults at drink all day, bring random strangers to bed, party all night, shove tampons in the toilet and teach teens GTL and fistpumping like a pack of demented banshees is cool.

  4. LeeLoo says:

    I guess I’ve become jaded to this type of racism too but in no way should this have been allowed to air. It’s not racist but it makes racial stereotypes and I can see that being offensive.

    However, in the end I think Ashton is just a d*ck. He probably had a decent amount of creative control in choosing the characters he played. But I won’t buy popchips now. It’s not because of the content of the ad but because Ashton endorsed it.

    • Rhiley says:

      He not only endorses it but he has a stake in the company. When you buy popchips you are lining his pockets. I hate to admit it but I bought PC a couple of times knowing this, but then I read that they are actually terrible for you because they are just potato flour and aren’t real food. Even though they have more fat, a bag of Sun Chips is much better for you than pop chips.

    • autumndaze says:

      Anything related to an endorsement or involvement by this guy means I won’t buy it.

  5. Kaboom says:

    I guess the critics would have wanted to hire an Indian actor to do the Indian character while leaving Ashton to do the rest? That would rather spoil the point of the thing. Or maybe they don’t want any foreigners in that ad at all. That would be in itself racist. Either way they’re wrong, I’d say.

    • Riana says:

      I don’t really consider it racist when they hired a white actor, he could have done multiple personalities for the commercial but ‘Indian’ is not a personality. If they wanted different ethnicities, hire different actors.

      Simple.

  6. some bitch says:

    Racist? Yeah. Offensive to gays? Maybe.
    Overall it was mostly just uncomfortable to watch due to Ashton’s wooden acting “abilities”.

    • wunder says:

      Yep, Arseton’s blatant lack of talent was the most offensive thing about this stupid popchip ad. The ‘brown face’ just made it 10xs worse!

    • NerdMomma says:

      Agree. Obviously it was the point to “stereotype” groups of people, and that’s immature, but the fact that a supposed actor can’t maintain a British or Southern accent, even with plenty of opportunities for editing, is really sad. And I DO think all four characters are offensive by the way. I would never want Ashton Kutcher representing me in any possible way!

  7. constant says:

    But when Peter Sellers did the same in “The Party” (1968) it was OK? How come this film is still a praised classic?

    • ahoyhoy says:

      I remember some flack from Indians that Ben Kingsley was only half Indian, and his other half is (gasp) British, when he played Gandhi. He won the critics over with a thoughtful and respectful performance, though. Ashton offends even his fellow Anglos with his poor taste and bad acting!

    • wunder says:

      I think you hit upon the key point: It was 1968!

      Many politically incorrect portrayals were happening back then,including horrible stereotypes of women, African-Americans, Native Americans, etc.

      Nowadays there are more females and people of color involved in the movie biz than back in 1968, so that makes a big difference.

    • tar says:

      Yes, The Party was 1968, but more recently Mike Myers does a whole movie in this vein. Somehow The Love Guru was okay, and this is not? I don’t get it.

  8. spinner says:

    Good grief…if we keep going, everything will be deemed offensive.

    Racist – NO

    Stupid – YES

  9. Alaina says:

    Also agree. It’s not the stereotyping so much as the utter stupidity and total lack of creativity on the part of the company that offends.

    I do also need to add that anything endorsed by Ashton Kutcher is something I would automatically avoid. Sleazy, ignorant, egotistic prat.

  10. Kathryn says:

    I personally don’t find this racist. Racism is literally defined as the belief of one race’s superiority to the other.
    I think the word racist/racism is overused. Prejudice or offensive might be better terms. This ad doesn’t say White people are better than everyone or Indians are inferior in any way. He is dressed up. Is he feeding stereotypes? Yes.
    Is it comparing races and saying one is better than the other? No.

    • PyCaramel says:

      People misuse the word RACISM and I’m SO tired of it. Racism is using your prejudice to hinder the advancement or human rights of whomever your prejudice is aimed toward. In other words, racism is about POWER. Example…everything pre-civil rights. That is why it’s said that blacks cannot be racist, b/c we don’t hold any power. Prejudice YES racist NO. Just to clarify!

    • jano1981 says:

      I actually know this and forgot it is so easily misused / transposed. Great point. :)

  11. HotPockets says:

    I don’t really find the commercial offensive. I hate the fact that everyone has to be so politically correct these days and constantly pull the race card.

    If you don’t support Obama, well, it’s because you’re racist, obviously.

    If you are white or you look white, well, you’re probably racist too.

    If you didn’t get accepted into that college or get that job you want and you’re not white, the person looking at your resume was obviously a racist.

    I thought the commercial was stupid and mildly inappropriate, but I don’t think it warranted backlash like it did. How many times do comedians, SNL, funny or die do the same thing?

    • KJ says:

      While I understand what you’re saying and agree to an extent, one of my biggest pet peeves as a person of color is when white people tell me when I should and should not be offended. Racism still exists, and if anything, Obama being elected has brought it to the surface. Do you read comments on CNN articles? Or, if you’re really feeling frisky, head on over to Fox Nation. Many of the opinions shared aren’t “I don’t agree with his policy.” A lot of them are “Get that monkey and his n*gger wife and kids out of the white house.” A LOT of people dislike Obama because they are racist. Not everyone, clearly, but let’s not act like that’s a totally impossible scenario. The internet allows people to say things they wouldn’t at the workplace or to their friends BECAUSE they’re hurtful or prejudiced.

      I hate “pulling the race card” because often times white people will tell me I’m being too sensitive, and there are few things worse than having something you think or feel be dismissed because someone thinks you’re being militant. If something is racist, prejudiced or hateful, it needs to be called out. If you ignore it, the people who say and do awful things will continue to think it’s ok because no one corrects them. A spade is a spade. We shouldn’t label people racist all willy nilly, but we shouldn’t be afraid to call anyone on it either for fear of being too sensitive.

      • HotPockets says:

        Well, to anyone who doesn’t like Obama because he is black, let’s not forget..he is bi-racial, so he is just as much white as he is black. That’s not really the point, but I hate how much the race card gets pulled. I hate how politically correct everyone tries to be. I heard a young girl tell a lady to have a good Easter and the woman screamed, “I am f***ing Jewish!” I mean common, people need to lighten up about it all, being an extremist of any kind is a bad thing.

        I remember awhile back Samuel L. Jackson was quoted as saying that he mainly voted for Obama because he is black. Why didn’t he get any heat for that? Could you imagine Matt Damon saying he voted for McCain only because he was white. I feel like we have created a paradox of reverse racism by constantly pulling the race card. There is a huge double standard and I am sick of it, ya know?

      • Veruca says:

        HotPockets, I knew I cared before… but I’m pretty sure I love you now.

        :P

      • anon33 says:

        It’s not the point at all, Hotpockets. You are assuming that those who want Obama out of the WH due to race are rational human beings who can even appreciate the fact that he is bi-racial. Sadly for those people the fact that he is even “a little black” is enough for them to make comments based in race. I can assure you that they DO NOT CARE if he is any percentage not black.

        I am unfortunately acquainted with several right-leaning semi-extremists (in-laws side), who are actually college educated, and I have sat there at multiple Z(forced) dinners listening to them make racially-based comments about the president. Trust me, not only do they not care that he is bi-racial, a large percentage of them don’t even believe it.

        I agree with KJ. Not nearly the same issue, but I get the same type of comments all the time because I am a rape survivor and I am highly uncomfortable with watching movie or TV depictions of rape (I can’t watch game of Thrones for this reason.) I cannot tell you how many times I’ve not only been ridiculed, but also been told to “just get over it,” and it’s offensive to me as well.

      • HotPockets says:

        Sorry anon33, that wasn’t my point. I am trying to say that I dislike the individuals tremendously who pull the race card, whether it be racism for not liking someone because of their color or those who try to be overly politically correct, both sides of extremism are wrong to me.

        I don’t agree with those who don’t support him or anyone, for that matter, because of their race, denomination, sexual orientation, but I don’t like how often this race card gets pulled and I don’t like the reverse racism that I constantly witness.

        ps- thanks veruca :)

      • MaiGirl says:

        I completely agree, KJ. And I get really annoyed with cries of “reverse racism” or “extreme political correctness”. These terms smack of privilege. Who gets to decide what is extreme? Usually, those who rarely experience bias. Also, until institutional power is shared, there cannot be reverse racism. There can be prejudice and bigotry, but not racism.

  12. the red one says:

    This is not racist people! Is it racist when a black entertainer dresses themselves up to play/poke fun at a white person? Not a fan of Ashton but this argument that the ad is racist is ridiculous. Are rednecks calling it racist? The ad is not saying that Indians are less than!

  13. bobjustbob says:

    The most offensive thing in this is Ashton trying to “act” LOL!!

    Seems there is always one group who gets offended in this day and age about something, hard to please everyone. And with that said, there is NO WAY this company did not know it would offend someone.

    But my question is..isn’t Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest movie The Dictator super-offensive (in fact ALL his movies are and racist I find), so why no outcry about that??

  14. Missy says:

    This whole “I’m going to object every time a non-white or non-straight group is portrayed in anything but a perfect light” schtick is getting old.

  15. Bad Gal Addiction says:

    People need to chill. Everybody seems to be offended by mocking stereotypes. What is wrong in your country, that you just can’t laugh at something without picking it apart to find something that isn’t politically correct.

    If you feel insulted by this then watch “Jimmy Carr’s most offensive” and tell me you didn’t get a giggle fit even though his jokes are harsh.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Please don’t lump the whole country together. There are certain people/groups who play the PC card to push political and social agendas. Most people I know are sensitive to things that could be constrewed as racist but aren’t pointing fingers and claiming that every little thing is offensive. Just watch any America stand-up comedian: there is generally a lot that could be taken as “offensive” or “racist” but most people just laugh.

  16. Alexis says:

    I just don’t see the point of having AK do brownface. Why not get an Indian actor if that’s what they wanted? It’s not like there are tons of roles out there for people of Indian decent.

    Unless it’s part of the plot (Tropic Thunder or White Chicks), or an impression of an individual on SNL or something (like Billy Crystal imitating Sammy Davis Jr., or that guy (I think he’s asian/white, or maybe latino) who imitates Obama and David Patterson), I just don’t see the need for people of one race imitating people of another race. I think the history of that tactic being use to degrade people makes the practice repellant to many pople.

  17. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Yeah ITA with Kaiser and other commenters. Not offended by the content but offended by the idea that we were supposed to find this crap funny. BTW, I effin hate Two and a Half Men. Poor Jon Cryer-they just replaced one royal d-bag with another royal d-bag.

  18. kit says:

    It is a terrible commercial, I cringed my way through about a minute of it and then hit stop. How can they not have known it is offensive?
    The only acting I can stomach from this douche is Open Season…

  19. Katyusha says:

    He looks like Burt Reynolds, not an Indian man.

  20. lucy2 says:

    Why would any company think that’s a good idea to do, and why would anyone hired Ashton to sell their product?

  21. Rhiley says:

    If people are offended by it, then it is offensive. It perpetuates stereotypes which is often never really funny and is very unnecessary. I think this is the extent of Kutcher’s ability as an “actor” though. He came under fire recently too for dressing like a rhinestone cowboy for the CMAs. I hate AK because he acts like he is so smart, and creative, and funny, and tech savvy, but he just isn’t. He is a tiresome douche, who really doesn’t have an original idea in his thick head. I can’t believe this shizz cost 1.5 million dollars to make.

    • sluggo says:

      THIS x1000.

      I don’t hate this commercial because it’s racist (although it is), I hate it because it’s stupid AND it has Ashton Kutcher in it. The guy is just NOT talented and I wish he would go away. Far, far away. Also, it advertises a product that resembles lightly-salted packing peanuts (the packing peanuts probably have more food value, too).

      If this fake-food commercial wanted to do “a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs” they could have just used a vapid douchey horndog white guy who’s almost too dumbass to open the damn bag of chips without ripping it apart, and he’s on a dating site because he only bagged 20 chicks this week and has to make his quota.

      Oh wait … they DID use a vapid douchey horndog white guy etc etc.

      Too bad Ashton didn’t just play himself. THAT gets more laughs out of me than his “lighthearted” Mantan-slathered attempt at acting.

      The First Amendment works both ways. It ALSO means that if people are offended, they get the right to speak up about it. Decades ago, it was different, and white men could do blackface or drag; or portray Indians, Native Americans, hillbillies, gays, the mentally impaired, you name it … making heavyhanded attempts at “humor” at others’ expense, and the targets could not say a word.

      It’s different now, and people not only express their displeasure vocally and in print, but they do so with their wallets. Sun Chips may lose far more than the $1.5 million (seriously? how much of that went into Ashton’s pocket?) it cost to make this stupid commercial.

  22. Happy21 says:

    It’s a dumb commercial for chips but I did find it mildly amusing. Then again I don’t mind Ashton and am not a hater. He cheated, he can be a d-bag but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors so I chose to not judge him on that.

  23. ladybert62 says:

    Oops better not open my mouth as I am sure I will say something politically incorrect about something to someone.

    Whatever happened to the first amendment? It died in the 1990s.

    • Alexis says:

      The First Amendment’s on and cracking. It’s the free market that’s shut this ad down. PopChips is afraid it will get a reputation as a racist company, so it’s shutting it down of its own accord.

      Blame social norms, not the law.

    • Riana says:

      Whenever people ask whatever happened to the first amendment I greatly suspect they don’t know what the first amendment actually says.

    • KJ says:

      The first amendment was originally meant to protect POLITICAL speech, fyi, not hate mongering.

      Furthermore, you’re more than welcome to say something politically incorrect. But, here’s the thing, just like you can say it, someone else has just as much of a right to be offended by it or not support you because of it. This ad was made, obviously, and the people who made it have every right to put it out there. But consumers also have a right to not buy the product and to not support an inaccurate and offensive portrayal of an Indian man. Free speech works both ways. It protects the right to offend as well as the right to be offended.

  24. TheOriginalKitten says:

    I just had to add that I love Pop Chips. If you’ve never had them, that sh-t is addictive so beware…
    And on that note, I am reminded that this “controversy” is fantastic free promotion for the company.

  25. KJ says:

    I personally define racism as prejudice + power + hatred. I don’t think AK hates Indians.

    At the same time, this ad is offensive. He’s taken an entire culture of people and flattened them into this caricature, and often times performances done by an actor portraying an ethnicity different from their own are caricatures. They try too hard to represent a PEOPLE instead of one person who happens to be said ethnicity. That’s my main problem. I don’t mind if people crossdress or wear makeup to portray a character, but when that performance becomes more about the race/ethnicity and less about a character of a certain race, it’s offensive. Not all Indians talk with that heavy heavy accent, have hook noses and wear traditional garb. Yet that’s the portrayal we see the most. I think a lot of prejudice would go away if we didn’t see people who are different from us as these stock characters in a poorly written TV show. If we saw eachother as PEOPLE first, instead of [insert ethnicity here] first.

    And if he’s trying to promote that Popchips are for everybody, why not just hire actors from different backgrounds? It’s not like he doesn’t have the money.

  26. kc says:

    Agree with most of posters so far. Stupid = yes, racist= no
    Stereotyping = duh, yes
    Ignorant = yes

    As glad as I am that awareness has grown, we have gotten to the point where people are terrified to poke fun at anyone else.

    Ashton is just a dumb bunny douchebag (sorry, did that offend any bunny lovers out there? )

  27. Esther says:

    I don’t see how people cant be offended at both the racism in this video is worse then it being stupid. I can totally see how people are upset that pop chips expected people to find this funny but that is like the least important part of this video. I think saying that your more offend by them thinking this was supposed to be funny glosses over the real issue with this video.

  28. CT says:

    It was funny… sad that we can’t even make jokes anymore. We’ve just become a ball of anger these days.

  29. teehee says:

    I thought it was funny. Heck you can say he is beign racist towards german people and brits as well, but why just the issue of skin color is upsetting people? Its making fun of types of people, I suppose, more than any skin color.

    It was silly, but I was completely blindsided by the fact that its for CHIPS. Like MK said– the hell does it have to do with chips??

    And yeah I am SO tired of the race thing. Its so overly an issue to some people, it destorys their ability to think or see or do anythign objectively anymore. They dont see reality anymore, because they are so caught up in pulling the racist card all the time.

    I’m a woman in a different country and thus I am an ‘outsider’, who can blame it all on my sex and origin– but no. I just work hard and earn what I want in life and dont blame anyone else for inevitable difficulties we all have to face. Either youre strong enough to overcome it, or you sit on your a$$ and spend all day saying other people are keeping you on your a$$.

  30. lover says:

    i dont see anything racist here at all

  31. daisy says:

    well done popchips. well done. you wanted people to see your commercial and talk about it? This is the best advertising move ever. a million people talking about it…talk about getting your brand name out there…. oh by the way..popchips are nasty

  32. hopperlea says:

    I cannot stand Ashton Kutcher. The commercial is offensive to me because he is in it. He needs to go away to the point that in 5 years, there is a “Whatever happened to Ashton Kutcher” blog.

  33. Kim says:

    This is the stupidest commercial i have ever seen! He is a terrible actor. Bad, writing combined with terrible acting!

    I like Pop Chips but dont want to buy them anymore if my $ is going to Ashton & they stoop to this to get attention.

    WOW whoever wrote this should get a new career asap!

  34. Nev says:

    he makes sooooo much cash doing that show.

    why is he doing these commercials anyways????

  35. EduBois says:

    Well, being a black person I’m not “jaded” about racism. I simply do not have that luxury despite all my desires to the contrary. When it is just acceptable to imitate white folks’ basic features, when black and brown actors are put in “white”face regularly – when it is a go to for surefire laughs, I’m sure we will have reached the great “post-racial” moment. We’re not there yet. You can keep saying we are though, if it makes you feel better.

    • Riana says:

      I agree, depending on one’s position in the world being jaded about racism simply isn’t a luxury that can be afforded.

    • MJ says:

      Well said. I am very aware of the privilege I’ve been afforded simply by being born caucasian and Canadian. I don’t mean this in the sense of being lucky or superior, but many things will come more easily to me than to a person of colour because of other people’s perceptions at work, in businesses, on the street, etc. How other white people don’t understand this is beyond me. It’s not right, but it’s true.

      If more people admitted that to themselves, there would be a lot more sensitivity to these sorts of portrayals. It’s easy for someone born into privilege to be ignorant of how images like this can be hurtful and perpetuate stereotypes. I work in a community that is 28% South Asian and I cannot recall meeting anyone that resembles “Raj”.

      This concludes my Thursday PSA.

      • kar says:

        MJ, agreed about never meeting somebody who is like Raj… I’m Canadian and of South Asian heritage, and I find this beyond racist (just as I find blackface or anything that perpetuates racial stereotypes, which is what this ad does).

        After reading some of the comments here at CB though, I’m glad that I’m Canadian and live in a country where people understand things like white privilege and systemic/institutional racism without resorting to tokenism and stuff, and don’t think that shit like this ad is “funny” and that those of us finding it offensive are “just sensitive” and part of the “PC brigade”.

  36. holly hobby says:

    I’m offended that they hired this dumb lug nut to be their spokesperson. Sorry AK is the only actor I want to punch in the face whenever I see him.

    I don’t get the appeal and I don’t know why he’s still employed.

  37. Psyren says:

    I agree with the majority of the posts here, the only thing I found offensive was his acting.

  38. Agnes says:

    this IS racist. every time someone puts on black face or brown face, it’s freaking racist. no way around it.

  39. Linda says:

    Is not racist. He made fun of everyone.

  40. Stubbylove says:

    I hate to say this but I don’t think the commerical was racist at all – people need to chill the hell out on being offended. It was pretty funny – best thing this dumbass has done in awhile. I just don’t get the association b/w the ad and chips…

  41. Jag says:

    What were they expecting when they let Kutcher have a say-so in creating the ads? He’s a dirtbag a-hole and pretty much can’t breathe without being offensive. I don’t eat snack chips but every decade or so, and I’ll be eating Sun Chips instead.

  42. Nymeria says:

    Meh. Waiting to Exhale is racist. The Ashton Kutcher commercial is merely mindless.

  43. ZooBug says:

    You have to understand Aston’s sense of humor maybe. I thought he was funny. I don’t see racism here. I dunno, maybe people have to lighten up a bit and stop witch hunting? *shrugs*

  44. fallen says:

    I think that everyone who doesn’t think that is racist should head over to Lainey’s site and read this:

    http://laineygossip.com/Articles/Details/23412/Ashton-Kutcher-Popchips-and-Lauren-Socha-racism

    • Farzana says:

      HAHAHA i just did the same thing! She explained it PERFECTLY!! I read it out loud to my parents, Canadian citizens for 40+ years and they were amazed at her ability to articulate the emotions that we experience during these situations!

  45. Farzana says:

    I refer everyone to Lainey’s website for further details on this topic – she articulated the concerns of the “non-white” population perfectly.

    http://www.laineygossip.com/Articles/Details/23412/Ashton-Kutcher-Popchips-and-Lauren-Socha-racism

  46. G says:

    So, a bunch of creative people and marketing executives looked at this and thought it would sell low fat chips?

    Creatively bankrupt and commercially moronic. How big a yes-person do you have to be to get your head this far up your own ass?

  47. Pippa says:

    Okay so this is gonna be kind of long but bear with me here. Yes, blackface (or ‘brownface’) is ALWAYS racist. No, it’s never funny. And there’s a reason for that.

    The media has a long history of stereotyping people based on their physical appearance and their culture by having people who do not belong to those cultures and people, who are not of those ethnicities, depict and represent them. These depictions are stereotypical and demeaning to the people they are trying to represent. They are not educative about the people and cultures and they’re not respectful in the least. They make mockeries of other peoples and cultures making them seem less human and “primitive” in comparison to their own culture. Even when people say “oh I’m doing it to show respect and my multicultural awareness” – they’re still being disrespectful. They’re treating people and cultures like a costume. Their skin colour is a costume. Their hair is a costume. Their clothing is a costume. When the media especially does this, people begin to think that it’s okay to stereotype other people and cultures; it leads, however subtly, to negative attitudes toward these people. It leads to prejudice and discrimination. It leads to violence towards these people. It leads to continual inequality. It’s not funny and it’s certainly not harmless.

    Secondly, my skin colour is not a joke. It’s who I am. And I face discrimination because of it every single day. For someone to paint themselves and “be black” or “be Asian” for one day and just wash it off and go back to their privileged existence is very insulting. I will always face discrimination based on my skin tone. By wearing blackface, white people can make fun of the stereotype but it’s me who has to live
    with that.

    “I wonder where the father is.”
    “Does she know who the father is?”
    “He’s probably in jail somewhere.”
    “I wonder how many other kids she has.”
    “She’s probably on welfare. She’s just abusing the system.”

    Funnily enough, I have heard every single one of those while out with my son. By painting your face and pretending to be a person of colour, you belittle my experience. You make my existence and struggles a joke, and it’s not ok.

    Finally, you only have to look at the history of blackface to understand why it’s not ‘just like dressing up’. For decades, the practice of blackface was used to dehumanize, denigrate, and exclude people of colour from society and Hollywood. Hell, some of the best loved blackface characters spawned some of our most violent current racial slurs – just look at Zip Coon. Blackface is not as simple as putting on a costume and having fun. It is a horrible act with a very painful past.

    Seriously. Just google blackface or type it into youtube. You’ll see in 5 minutes why people of colour don’t exactly find this hilarious.

    • REDSLIP says:

      Well put. I agree with this 100%.

    • bubblyme says:

      Pippa, Agnes, kar, MJ and the others on this site that have put my faith back into humanity – thank you. Racism is prejudice with power. The power to put down, make fun and ride on the backs of centuries of hurtful and violent behaviour. Thus a black comic making fun of white people (using race to pin-point white people’s privilege and power) is not the same when a white actor does it (to make fun based on difference). That’s racism.

  48. aang says:

    I have brown skin and I am not offended. My daughter’s best friend is 1/2 asian Indian and she does the funniest south indian accent ever , it drives her father nuts but has everyone else in tears. What abut Apu at the Quickymart? Racist or just funny? I vote funny. People need to lighten up. The fact that this idiot is famous does offend me.

  49. Hanna says:

    Come on, this was pretty funny. The amount of attention its getting is lame. And yes Ashton is still a douchebag.

  50. muppet_barbershop says:

    Dang, I sorta liked PopChips. Anyway… Real men don’t hawk chips in brownface. …To me this is part of that messed-up thing where a lot of us who have white privilege think that Indians have it too, and therefore, as with Ashkenazi Jews (such as myself) and Irish people and Italians, ethnic joking is okay. Not really true yet for anyone who is brown. Duh.

  51. ZenB!tch says:

    I didn’t click on the ad. I’m just offended by the existence of Ashton Kutcher. I’m also offended that he is still popular somehow.

  52. Frayed_Edges says:

    If this is racist, then so is the movie ‘White Chicks’.

  53. GirlyGirl says:

    When will this douche a-hole disappear?

    Hey Hollywood! No one but you likes this guy!!!