Mountain Dew is pulling an ad created by the founder of hip-hop group Odd Future, Tyler Gregory Okonma (better known as Tyler, the Creator) after it elicited cries of racism. A professor at Syracuse University even called it “arguably the most racist commercial in history.”
After watching the video ourselves, all we can say is…WOW. Racial profiling and violence against women all wrapped up in one extremely bizarre and undeniably offensive package.
Not only is it the most racially insensitive spot we’ve seen in recent memory, but it promotes so many dangerous and offensive stereotypes at once that it’s hard to know what to be angry about first. The ad features a white detective (holding a Mountain Dew) urging a bandaged-up white woman to pick her assailant out of a lineup of all African American men (and one extremely threatening goat, voiced by Tyler himself).
As the woman tries to pick out her attacker (the goat), he threatens her with phrases like “You shoulda gave me some more; I’m nasty” and “You better not snitch on a playa. Snitches get stitches.” When the woman is too intimidated to continue, the detective says takes a swig of his Mountain Dew and says, “She’s just gotta dew it.” Really? That was all leading up to a pun?
PepsiCo gave the following statement to AdWeek after the uproar: “We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended…We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.”
While pulling the ad and apologizing were probably the right moves, we found the language of the apology a bit unimpressive. They don’t take responsibility for creating and releasing an ad that was very clearly in poor taste; instead, they apologize that it “could be perceived by some as offensive.” In other words, the responsibility really rests upon the hyper-critical audience. But maybe now we’re being hyper-critical? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
UPDATE (5/3/13): Perhaps we weren’t being hyper-critical about PepsiCo’s halfhearted apology. The brand released a new (more apologetic) statement yesterday afternoon, saying: “We Apologize for this video and take full responsibility. We have removed it from all Mountain Dew Channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.”