PepsiCo, Inc, owners of Mountain Dew soda, has pulled an online video ad after viewers complained of its use of racial stereotypes. The ad also seemed to be making light of violence toward women.
The video ad begins by showing a police lineup of various thug-like African Americans–among them a goat–and transitions to the other side of the glass as a retinue of white cops urge a bloodied, bandaged women to identify her attacker. “Nail this little sucker. Which one is he? Point to him,” the cops say.
The goat is heard saying menacingly “ya better not snitch on a playa” using African American-like vernacular. The goat also warns the woman that “snitches get stitches, fool.” The goat then threatens several times that the battered woman should “keep ya mouth shut.” The goat also tells the women he’s gonna “Dew” her.
Ultimately, the woman runs from the viewing room screaming in terror. This is followed by the white policeman taking a sip of the soda before saying, “She’s just gotta Dew it.”
It wasn’t long before complaints over the racial connotations in the video flooded PepsiCo’s offices.
Syracuse Professor Boyce Watkins called the ad “arguably the most racist commercial in history.”
“Mountain Dew has set a new low for corporate racism,” Watkins complained.
In a statement to the media, a spokesman for PepsiCo apologized for its lapse in judgment and said that the company was going to pull the ad from websites that had been showing it.
“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.”
The ad is part of a campaign created by hip-hop artist Tyler, The Creator, leader of the Odd Future collective. The campaign features “Felicia the goat” a character that frequently gets drunk on Mountain Dew.
In one ad the goat is pulled over by a policeman and charged with driving “Dew-U-I,” and in the ad just previous to the pulled video, in a Dew-fueled fit “Felicia” attacks a waitress in a restaurant. The waitress is the same woman that appears battered in the follow-up video that caused such controversy.
The catch phrase for Felicia the goat is some variation of “you’re a nasty goat.”
Despite the obvious racial content, Tyler and his staff defend their ad. “He (Tyler) absolutely never intended to spark a controversy about race,” Tyler’s manager Christian Clancy recently posted.
PepsiCo has not said if it will continue its relationship with Tyler, The Creator on the ad campaign.