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Ashton Kutcher’s caught up in a racism row after playing an Indian man, Snackmaker says sorry

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Snackmaker says sorry for Ashton Kutcher in Indian brownface

By Staff Reporter
AFP Global Edition

May 03, 2012 13:08 EDT

The makers of a trendy California snack food have apologized for their Internet advertisement featuring Ashton Kutcher in brownface as a goofy but lovelorn Bollywood film producer.

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Popchips acknowledged “a lot of feedback” to its new ad campaign this week in which the “Two and a Half Men” star and soon-to-be divorcee plays five different bachelors in a spoof dating-service commercial.

One’s a hippy. Another a biker. The third a fashion designer called Darl who looks like Karl Lagerfeld, and a fourth is Kutcher himself. But it was the Hollywood actor playing “Raj” that triggered online outrage.

“Don’t watch it; It’s a hackneyed, unfunny advertisement featuring Kutcher in brownface … with the entire punchline being that he’s doing it in a fake-Indian outfit and voice,” New York tech consultant Anil Dash blogged.

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On Twitter, the rap group Das Racist asked Kutcher, who is in the midst of a divorce from fellow thespian Demi Moore: “Hey @aplusk, what’s with the racist brownface video?”

On his corporate blog, Popchips founder Keith Belling responded: “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.”

Popchips pulled an 88-second video of “Raj” from its YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/popchipsfans) — but kept a compilation in which Kutcher affects a Hindi accent, scratches his foot and declares he’s “looking for the most delicious thing on the planet … like Kardashian hot.”

Source: AFP Global Edition

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