PepsiCo announced today that it was pulling a Mountain Dew ad from all its online channels, after it was buffeted by criticism.
Boyce Watkins, a professor at Syracuse University and an outspoken social critic, called the commercial "arguably the most racist commercial in history."
MTV has the background on the commercial, the last of three directed by the rapper Tyler, the Creator (hyperlinks added):
"The first ad finds Felicia the Goat, an actual goat voiced by Tyler, in a restaurant that has run out of Mountain Dew. The goat then proceeds to assault the female waitress who delivered the bad news. In the second spot, Felicia, once again voiced by Tyler, flees from a police officer after being pulled over for "DewUI," a play on words which also incorporates the company's popular "Do the Dew" slogan.
"For the third spot, Felicia the Goat (once again voiced by Tyler) appears in a police lineup in the middle of five black men, one of whom is played by Odd Future's Left Brain. The goat intimidates the battered waitress, blurting out a number of phrases including 'better not snitch on a player' and 'snitches get stiches' before she shrieks and flees from the police station."
AdWeek received a statement from Pepsi in which they say they have removed the video from their channels and are asking Tyler to do the same.
"We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended," Pepsi told AdWeek. On Twitter, Mountain Dew called the ad a "big mistake."
The ads are still available via various YouTube users (here are examples of the first, second and third parts). Update: It appears Pepsi has ordered the removal of most of the videos online.
In his piece at Your Black World, Watkins takes Pepsi to task for relying on "well-known racial stereotypes."
"In the world of Mountain Dew, every single suspect is black. Not just regular black people, but the kinds of ratchety negroes you might find in the middle of any hip-hop minstrel show: Gold teeth, 'mean mugging,' sun glasses wearing, white-t sportin, hard core [n-word] ready to 'get into some ol gangsta [expletive].' Apparently, this is the kind of ad you put out if you want to appeal to the black male demographic. ...
"This doesn't even include the fact that the company has put black men on par with animals. The holocaust of mass incarceration and the glorification of violent prison culture has taken a tremendous toll on the black community. Corporations are making it cool for black men to murder one another, while gun manufacturers ensure that the streets are flooded with the weapons necessary for us to complete our own genocide."
USA Today points out that this move comes "just days after Hyundai pulled an ad parodying suicide and few weeks after McDonald's yanked a regional subway poster that parodied depressed women."
Back in March, Ford had to apologize for an ad that showed women bound and gagged.