US soft drink company PepsiCo have withdrawn an online ad for Mountain Dew after it was criticised for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence against women.
• PepsiCo has withdrawn an advert labelled ‘arguablt the most racist commercial in history’
• Advert created by Odd Future rapper Tyler, The Creator also criticised for making light of violence against women
In the 60-second ad developed by US rapper Tyler, The Creator, shows a battered white woman on crutches urged to identify a suspect out of a lineup of African-American men. A goat character known as Felicia is included in the lineup.
One blogger described the 60-second video as “arguably the most racist commercial in history”.
The goat makes threatening remarks to the woman such as “Ya better not snitch on a player” and “Keep ya mouth shut.” She eventually screams “I can’t do this, no no no!” and runs away.
The word “do” is in apparent reference to the soft drink’s “Dew It” slogan.
PepsiCo Inc, based in Purchase, New York, apologised in a statement and said it understood how the ad could be offensive.
Jen Ryan, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo, said the company was alerted on Tuesday by its consumer relations team that some people found the ad offensive. The company immediately decided to take down the spot and was told by Tyler that he would remove it from his YouTube channel as well, she said.
The ad was never intended to air on TV, Ryan said.
Tyler, the Creator’s songs have been criticised for their homophobic and misogynistic content, though he has also expressed support for singer Frank Ocean, who revealed he was bisexual last year.
Management of Odd Future, the hip-hop collective led by Tyler, the Creator, issued a statement apologising to anyone offended but said the ad was taken out of context. It noted the men in the ad’s lineup are Tyler’s friends and Odd Future members.
The artist “absolutely never intended to spark a controversy about race,” the statement said. “It was simply an, again, admittedly absurd story that was never meant to be taken seriously.”