Is Ashton Kutcher’s Popchips Commercial Racist?

Brand ambassador Ashton Kutcher debuted a new video for Popchips where he dresses up in different characters for a dating service. And yes, one of those men is Indian. The Washington Post reports that the campaign directs people to a Facebook app, where friends can play matchmaker for each other. (And while stuffing their faces with Popchips, right?)

But let’s back up for a bit.

Does he really dress up as Raj, a “Bollywood producer,” complete with tan make-up and a thick accent? Oh, yes. He does. We’re quite familiar with the whole “yellowface” or “brownface” look, where white people portray our people through the power of foundation and a little tape around the eyes (or in this case, a fake mustache), so Kutcher’s video certainly crosses the line for me. If it’s a faux pas for people to dress up in blackface (and rightly so), what gives them the okay to dress up and impersonate other cultures, races and ethnicities? It’s a cheap laugh based on cheap stereotypes with nothing witty or clever about it.

I know not everyone agrees that cultural/racial impersonations are always racist. But isn’t it ironic that while Kutcher is a huge proponent for human rights, he’ll do something like this?

So what do you think? Is this Popchips video racist or not?

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About Moye

I am a Japanese-American girl who was born, raised and is most probably stuck in traffic right this second in Los Angeles. I'm currently one of the co-editors of 8Asians and like to distract myself with good food, reading long books, playing video games, catching up on celebrity news, choosing my new new haircut and then writing all about it on Hello Moye and sometimes here on Twitter if I can get it in under 140 words or less. You can reach me at moye[at]
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