Photo Credit: Popchips/YouTube
All Ashton Kutcher wanted was a date -- but instead the 34-year-old Two and a Half Men star has found himself embroiled in a controversy.
The actor, who was hired by Popchips back in 2010 to be their "president of pop culture," is drawing fire for his cartoonish portrayal of a Bollywood producer in a faux dating website ad promoting the Popchips website. Watch the video below!
Unfortunately, it hasn't gotten the brand the type of attention it was likely looking for. In the dating ad, Kutcher plays a variety of eligible bachelors, including Bollywood producer "Raj," who's got a special thing for Kim Kardashian and Snooki. Needless to say, Indian Americans weren't too pleased about the brown-face makeup and cheesy Indian accent, and -- according to The New York Times -- Popchips has since removed the ad from their website amidst cries of racism.
The most vocal outcry came from tech entrepreneur Anil Dash. "I can't imagine I have to explain this to anyone in 2012, but if you find yourself putting brown makeup on a white person in 2012 so they can do a bad 'funny' accent in order to sell potato chips, you are on the wrong course," he wrote on his website.
Kutcher has yet to respond to the critiques, but Popchips CEO Keith Belling took to the company's website Wednesday to comment on the uproar and to apologize.
"We received a lot feedback about the dating campaign parody we launched today and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their point of view," he wrote. "Our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended."
A representative for the company also issued a statement. "The new Popchips worldwide dating parody featuring four characters was created to provoke a few laughs and was never intended to stereotype or offend anyone," read the statement. "At Popchips we embrace all types of shapes, flavors and colors, and appreciate all snackers, no matter their race or ethnicity. We hope people can enjoy this in the spirit it was intended."
Also among the characters Kutcher plays are "Nigel," a British stoner replete with dreadlocks; "Swordfish," a chill Southerner; Darl, a Karl Lagerfeld look-alike; and "Ashton, 34." As this last character, a.ka. himself, Ashton comments: "Your waiting room is a like a freak show. Are we all in the same category?"
A few of the characters' personal ads are still up at the Popchips/"World Wide Lovers" Facebook page, although Raj's is noticeably absent. He does, however, appear in the main video on the page. Guess Popchips isn't too scared of backlash.