A new ad by soft drink purveyor Mountain Dew has many condemning it as racist and wholly offensive.
The ad, which is a part of an equally belligerent campaign, features Tyler the Creator and his envelop-pushing rap group, Odd Future. The spot depicts a beaten, bruised, and fearful white woman attempting to identify her attacker amid a lineup full of scary looking black men…and a goat.
How funny! *eye roll*
Though she has the support of the mostly white police officers (there appears to be a black cop in the shadows), the woman is too afraid to pick out her attacker—the goat—who continues to harass and threaten her. At one point, the goat tells the woman, “You betta not snitch on a playa” and “I’ma get outta here and do you up. Keep ya mouth shut.”
Although the perpetrator of the crime is a goat, the ad plays on nearly every negative stereotype of black men ever created–criminal, intimidating, scary, up to no good, prone to crime, untrustworthy—while attempting to make light of violence against women.
During one scene, the goat tells the shaken woman, “You shoulda gave me some more, I’m nasty,” which most likely relates to giving him more Mountain Dew, but eerily sounds like he is speaking of a sexually assault.
In another scene the cop tells the woman to “nail the little sucker,” while suggesting which man to identify. First, he says, “He’s wearing the do-rag,” then he points out the goat, saying, “It’s the one with the four legs.” Though his words are meant to be funny, it highlights the idea that when it comes to identifying criminals any black man will do.
Although the ad is satirical and was apparently written by Tyler the Creator, it still peddles many of the tired stereotypes black men have been fighting for years.
Dr. Boyce Watkins called the spot, “arguably the most racist commercial in history,” and the Daily Kos criticized it for being, “flagrantly racist.”
While I doubt this ad will run on TV, Mountain Dew, and its parent company PepsiCo, should have known better.
First of all, sexual assault and violence against women is not fodder for comedy. Victims of violence don’t need an obnoxious talking goat making light of their very real tragedies. Second, despite being helmed by a black man (who has joked and rapped about assaulting women), Mountain Dew’s ad executives should have know better than to release a commercial so rife with racist stereotypes that it has already been roundly criticized.
If Mountain Dew set out to create an ad campaign that would piss people off, then they succeeded. But if they want black audiences to start drinking their products, using Tyler the Creator and his brand of overly offensive “comedy” to make light of violence and racism is not the way to do it.