Picture a grim police line-up with five young African American men in stereotypical "thug" garb, and a goat. That's just the opening shot.
PepsiCo has announced it is pulling its new ad for Moutain Dew after a storm of criticism this week. Social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote on his blog that the spot was "arguably the most racist commercial in history." He continues, "Mountain Dew has set a new low for corporate racism. Their decision to lean on well-known racial stereotypes is beyond disgusting. This doesn't even include the fact that the company has put black men on par with animals."
The one-minute ad shows a badly beaten blonde Caucasian woman approaching the line-up on crutches. A white male warden says, "We got 'em all lined up, nail the little sucker." The goat, in a raspy male voice bullies her with phrases, "keep your mouth shut, I'm going to do ya when I get out," "ya better not snitch on a playa'," and "snitches, get stitches, fool." The woman becomes hysterical and runs from the room. As the ad ends, you can hear her screaming off-screen.
The spot is one of a series featuring an intoxicated goat called Felicia created by Tyler, The Creator — leader of the hip-hop collective One Future. Ironically, AdWeek called an earlier video in the series the "Best Ad Ever."
"We apologize for this video and take full responsibility. We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well." Jen Ryan, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo told Yahoo! Shine in a statement.
Mountain Dew is also being called out for its off-handed depiction of a battered woman. A Twitter user, Danica, tweeted, "that Mountain Dew advert is so racist and offensive to women who have been abused/assaulted how was this even approved in the first place?" Felsull added, "racist+sexist. There are no words. Oh wait, there are words. They're all expletives." In 2009, PepsiCo apologized for promoting an app that gave men pick-up lines targeting certain "types" of women.
It is somewhat mind-boggling that — in this age of social media where things spread quickly and are under intense scrutiny — corporations are still releasing ads as, or more-offensive than, those from the "Mad Men" days.