Ashton Kutcher ad in Indian ‘Brownface’ Pulled for Racism

Ashton Kutcher’s ad for Popchips, playing an Indian character in brown make-up, has had to be pulled over charges of stereotyping and racism, reports ITN:

Reaction from Manan Ahmed, @sepoy:

ashton kutcher ad

Dear US media: Just remember, it is only Arabs you can be racist about.

4 Responses

  1. Is that really racist? It’s stupid, yes, but he’s playing an Indian, so he’s wearing make up. Is it inherently racist to play someone from an ethnic group you don’t belong to? To me, racism is saying that your group is better than another group or groups. I don’t see that this ad even criticizes Indians, or necessarily even the fake Bollywood producer. Why is he portraying a Bollywood producer? I have no idea. Why is he portraying a hippie in one of the other ads? Again, no idea, except to be funny (debatable) and noticed. But does that make this racist? I think that does disservice to the victims of real racism, of which there have been and continue to be millions.

  2. I am reminded of the actor Sayeed Jaffrey’s comment (on BBC radio some years ago) on Peter Sellers’ portrayal of an Indian doctor in the film “The Millionairess”. “Such a shame he played a character with a north Indian name with a south Indian accent.” One of the great put-downs.

  3. So if Sacha Baron Cohen does it over and over, it seems that his only gag is to make fun of other ethnicity and nationality, nobody has an issue with that.

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