Thank you, Anil Dash – and other social media influencers – for voicing your disappointment with Pop Chips, Ashton Kutcher, and the agencies involved in the offensive Pop Chips ad where Ashton Kutcher wears brown make up to act like a goofy Bollywood producer.
Seriously. What were they thinking?
What I appreciate most is Anil Dash’s clear, smart reaction with specific action steps on “How to Fix Pop Chips Racist Ad Campaign.“ He suggests: (1) Keep the campaign up, (2) link to an apology, and (3) have the company, agencies and Ashton Kutcher apologize too.
Looks like the CEO pulled the ad and issued an apology, and the video of the offensive has been pulled offline.
It’s disappointing for me to see how mainstream media and brands play into racist stereotypes. A few weeks ago, my daughters were watching Jesse on The Disney Channel. I was appalled to see how Ravi, a young Indian character on the show, was mocked and made into a slapstick “Fresh Off The Boat” character. In this clip, he says, “Hey Ganesh, I’m a Human Samosa.” He then goes on to give an explanation of Karma. It amazes me that writers could actually think this is acceptable.
My daughters — ages 7 and 10 — both instinctively knew that something was wrong when we saw Ravi’s character on the show. They squirmed and looked at me uncomfortably. Rather than shut the television off, I watched the show with them, amazed that a company like Disney would let this air. We then had a long talk about racism. I told them about how for a long time African Americans were portrayed as dumb slaves. How for many years Russians, and now Muslims, are portrayed as evil in movies. They wanted to know why it was ok to show a young Indian boy the way Ravi was being portrayed on Disney today. I had nothing to say.
It’s not ok.
Leela, my 7 year old, herself decided that Jesse was not an appropriate show moving forward in our house. She remains unsettled and uncomfortable from the portrayal of Indians on this show.
Thanks again, Anil, for giving voice to the Pop Chips debacle . You inspired me to write this. It’s so important we bring awareness to ignorance — like Anil, I don’t think the writers, producers, or actors on these shows are racist. I think it’s just ignorance and a willingness by viewers to accept these stereotypes as harmless. As viewers or consumers, we have to say it’s not ok.