Mountain Dew Yanks Commercial Amid Accusations of Racism (Video)
UPDATED: Outrage over an ad featuring Felicia the Goat, voiced by rapper Tyler the Creator, prompts PepsiCo to issue an apology.
Mountain Dew is pulling down a brazen new ad that has incited outrage and accusations of racism.
The minute-long commercial features five members of the hip-hop collective Odd Future as suspects in a line-up that also includes a talking goat named Felicia (voiced by the group's ringleader, the rapper-producer Tyler the Creator). A battered and bloodied woman -- sporting a neck brace and crutches -- wails with fear as Felicia threatens her from behind the mirrored window. "Keep your mouth shut. I'm gonna get outta here and I'm gonna 'dew' you up," bullies the goat, prompting the woman to run away. Meanwhile, a jaded cop guzzles a bottle of Mountain Dew.
"We apologize for this video and take full responsibility," a rep for distributor PepsiCo said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "We have removed it from all Mountain Dew channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well."
The clip, part of a trash-talking series of Mountain Dew video spots from Tyler the Creator, has been deemed "arguably the most racist commercial in history" by author and social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins, according to Adweek, which earlier Wednesday posted a statement from PepsiCo saying: "We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended."
A similar spot shows Felicia the Goat acting violently toward a woman -- this time, a waitress -- in a crazed bid to get her hooves on the bright-yellow soda.
A rep for Tyler the Creator, whose raps have drawn criticism for being homophobic and misogynistic released this statement to THR:
"It was never Tyler's intention to offend however, offense is personal and valid to anyone who is offended. Out of respect to those that were offended the ad was taken down," it said. "For those who know and respect Tyler he is known for pushing boundaries and challenging stereotypes through humor. This is someone who grew up on David Chappelle. This situation is layered with context and is a discussion that Tyler would love to address in the right forum as he does have a point of view."
"Contrary to what many may discern from this Tyler is the embodiment of not judging others, his delivery may not be for everyone (which is true for anyone who pushes boundaries) but his voice is nonetheless important to the conversation since his demographic understands what he ultimately stands for and sees the irony of it all," continued the statement.
"He absolutely never intended to spark a controversy about race," it read. "It was simply an again admittedly absurd story that was never meant to be taken seriously. Again we apologize if this was taken out of context and would never trivialize racism, especially now in America where voting and civil rights are being challenged at the highest level."
Video of the ad has been removed from this post.