Mountain Dew’s advertisements have been accused of being many things over the years: loud, obnoxious, stupid, EXTREME!!!, etc. They’ve managed to avoid being called racist, however.
PepsiCo, the parent company of Mountain Dew, has announced that it will pull a recent commercial featuring rap star Tyler the Creator after it was accused of being “the most racist ad in history” by author and political analyst Dr. Boyce Watkins.
The minute-long commercial features a battered white woman facing a lineup of angry-looking criminal suspects, each of whom is pretty much a walking stereotype of black crime. Tattoos, white “wifebeater” undershirts, gold teeth, bandanas… this commercial has it all. Oh, and there’s a goat, too. But the goat “speaks” in a stereotypically “gangsta” way and telepathically threatens the victim that she “betta not snitch on a playa.”
The ad is ludicrously offensive and it’s puzzling why the people at Mountain Dew thought it would appeal to anyone. The fact that Tyler the Creator, a black man, seemingly gave this ad his blessing doesn’t excuse how irresponsible it is.
Look — it’s one thing for Tyler the Creator to rap about raping pregnant women so he can say he had a threesome. He has the freedom of speech and artistic license to rap about whatever he wants, and an argument can be made that the shock value he employs in his lyrics is full of artistic merit. No one’s saying art should be censored.
Things are a lot different when a product is being sold, however. You forfeit the haven art provides when you’re shilling for neon yellow sugar water.
“We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended,” a representative of PepsiCo said in a statement. “We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.”
This statement comes at a time when Mountain Dew is facing scrutiny for its sponsorship of rapper Lil Wayne, following a recent song in which he bragged about beating up women’s vaginas like Emmitt Till, a black boy who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955.